Bike Share Program Offers Discounts for SNAP Participants and Those in Other Programs

This past January Hubway, Boston’s bike share system, announced a new discount program for low-income EBT card holders to participate. The Department of Transitional Assistance, which administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Motivate, the operator of Hubway, launched the “SNAP Card to Ride.”

Hubway was started in 2011 by the late Boston Mayor Thomas N. Menino. Over a period of  seven years it has grown to include the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and the Town of Brookline. Riders have accounted for over six million trips, and now 1,800 bikes at 194 stations in greater Boston will become available to EBT card holders

“Hubway shows that bike sharing is fulfilling its promise as a vital part of the Boston area’s

transportation network– increasing access to the region’s existing transit network as well as

communities underserved by public transit,” said CEO & President of Motivate, Jay  Walder, in a January statement highlighting Hubway’s new discount program.

In March, Hubway further expanded the discount offering to benefit recipients of programs like Emergency Aid to the Elderly Disabled, and Children; Free or Reduced Lunch; fuel assistance; public housing; and Women, Infants, and Children nutrition services. Municipal leaders applauded the expansion in a joint press release.

Walder commented further about the mission of Hubway.

“We are eager to continue to help grow a system that has truly served as an

inspiration for a whole generation of bike share programs across the nation.”

Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale commented about the discount bike program.

“Cambridge residents, commuters and visitors have benefited from Hubway and this program is an essential way to ensure that every member of our community has access to this great transportation resource,“ DePasquale  said. “We look forward to continuing to work with our municipal partners in promoting cost effective transportation throughout Metro Boston.”

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone remarked about this new Hubway program.

“Hubway’s new low-income membership is a key element to Somerville’s affordability strategy,” Curtatone said. “ Riding a bicycle can be one of the most cost effective ways to get around an urban environment like Somerville.”

Chair of the Brookline Selectboard, Neil Wishinsky talked about Hubway’s expansion.

“Hubway has  evolved to become an invaluable tool for facilitating active transportation

for people that live and work in the greater Boston region, “Wishinsky said. “We are excited

about the SNAP Card to Ride program will make bike share more accessible to everyone

to utilize this great resource.”

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh also released a statement about Hubway, saying “The city of Boston is pleased to be part of the SNAP Card to Ride partnership.”

This program is an ongoing commitment to improve bike share access among traditionally

underserved populations.”

Those interested in the program can sign up on Hubway’s website, clicking the SNAP Card to Ride link and entering your EBT card number and address. Rates include $5 monthly and $50 yearly options.

Robert Sondak is a vendor and a writer for Spare Change News.

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