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Metro and the City of Los Angeles will offer essential workers a discounted membership for a full year for the agency’s bike share program. In order to “recognize the incredible sacrifices that many essential workers have made and continue to make on a daily basis, “ the agency wrote on their website, Metro Bike Share is offering the 365-Day Pass at a discounted rate of $75/year to eligible workers.
With hundreds of locations throughout Los Angeles, Metro hopes this aids essential workers to get to work or to make quick trips near their home. “As the need for safe and reliable public transportation options endures through the pandemic,” the website reads, the 365-Day Pass includes unlimited 30 minute Metro Bike Share rides and free Electric Metro Bike unlocking fees for a full year.
Eligible essential workers include medical professionals, retail workers, construction workers, credentialed media workers, among others. To sign up for the program, those eligible can do so through the Metro Bike Share website.
Back in the summer of 2020, LA Metro reportedly launched a similar program, offering essential workers access to unlimited 30-minute bike share rides and free electric bike unlocking fees for one month. But with the end of the COVID-19 pandemic being nowhere in sight, the need for a longer program is needed.
Also during that time, Metro’s Recovery Task Force reportedly recommended Angelenos do more bicycling. In addition to the activity being good for one’s health, air quality, climate, and affordability, the main reason cited was “to help prevent overcrowding on transit.” And though Metro observed that their bike-share ridership declined under COVID, it declined less than bus and rail ridership.
Coronavirus emptied out Los Angeles’ roadways, so bicyclists took advantage of this. As more cyclists have hit the roads, September 2020 had the fewest bicycle-vehicle collisions since the city began releasing data in 2012. Per data from the Los Angeles Police Department, there were 18 bike-vehicle collisions recorded in the city that month, down from 185 during the same period in 2019 — making it the lowest number ever recorded. Consequently, the number of cycling trips in the city logged by Strava Metro, which tracks data on bike usage in urban areas, rose by 52%, to 191,010.
Moreover, LA Metro released an app last month that allows Android smartphone owners to use their device instead of a dedicated TAP card to ride Metro buses and trains. At the time, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti reportedly said: “We have to eliminate barriers between our transportation system and our essential workers, front-line heroes, hard-hit households, and Angelenos from every zip code. This is always important, but even more critical in this current crisis. Extending the new mobile TAP app to Android phones will put the power to pay fares in the hands of more riders.”
Similarly, Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington added: “In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the TAP app on Android is a great option for essential workers, honors social distancing with no bus operator interaction needed by the rider and works on all TAP participating agencies, whether riders board at the front or at rear doors.”