The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (OTIS) and Indego have released the 2023 Indego Equity Plan! This five-year plan intends to establish a path for Philadelphia’s Indego bike share program to continue leading the way in equitable bike share growth and operation. In this blog, we’ll review Indego’s past equity efforts, share the goals defined in the Indego Equity Plan, and provide a link to the entire PDF document.
The Indego Equity Plan builds on a substantial foundation of previous work to envision, launch, and expand the Indego system in an equitable way. Since launch, Indego has partnered with the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP) to understand the barriers behind the utilization of bike share in low-income and communities of color. This partnership empowered Philadelphia and Indego to be the first living laboratory to develop strategies and tactics to address those barriers, collect data to assess change and work to institutionalize replicable approaches for other bike share systems.
When the Indego system was first launched in 2015, one third of the stations were placed in low-income communities. To reach people in these communities, Indego has worked each year with a team of Community Ambassadors who help residents understand the benefits of bike share, educate folks on how to use Indego, and collect feedback on the barriers to access.
Indego also introduced a discounted pass for PA ACCESS cardholders and became the first bike share program in the country to have an automated cash payment option available to any resident, regardless of income. Since its launch, Indego has had over 10,000 Access pass signups and this past January, 15% of trips were taken by Access Passholders. To break down other barriers, Indego has worked with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia as a key partner to lead community group rides and offer a suite of free education classes.
“When I think about Indego and equity, five words pop in my mind: health & wellness, sustainability, social infrastructure, and access. It’s not just about talking about problems and putting band aids, we must implement real-life solutions that really matter when it comes down to equity.”DeWayne Drummond, previous Indego Community Ambassador and President of the Mantua Civic Association
“In a city as culturally and financially diverse as Philadelphia, any plan to improve the quality and access of transportation options should have true equity at its core. This involves developing and implementing plans that prioritize the needs of citizens, views them through their lenses, and meets them where they are in order to improve much needed services whether that involves education, access, or affordability. Indego has always been committed to evaluating its policy and practices to ensure fairness throughout their system. They should be commended for continuing their efforts through the creation of the Indego Equity Plan, whose goals aim to further bolster their partnerships and services to various communities, especially BIOPIC, throughout Philadelphia.”Tonnetta Graham, previous Indego Community Ambassador and Executive Director at the Strawberry Mansion CDC
Fostering equity is an ongoing effort that is a process rather than a destination. As the Indego system continues to grow and the responsibilities of system partners evolve, it is important to cultivate a shared culture of diversity, equity inclusion, and justice. A successful bike share program depends on funding, infrastructure that encourages bike riding, and support from community members. These elements reinforce each other and provide crucial pillars for the foundation of a successful bike share program, as a result, they are reflected in these five goals defined in the 2023 Indego Equity Plan:
- Indego will improve transportation access for all people, with particular attention to people who are BIPOC and people facing economic challenges.
- Indego’s pricing structure will make the system financially accessible to people with economic challenges.
- Indego will reduce non-financial barriers to ridership and barriers to entry, especially in historically marginalized communities and among all eligible age groups, including seniors 62+ and youth 14 – 21.
- Indego will continue to prioritize community partnerships and relationships so that marginalized communities can influence decisions related to Indego in a way that addresses their needs and concerns.
- Indego’s workforce, including its managing team at both BTS and OTIS, will include demographic diversity and diverse perspectives and experiences.
Through implementing this plan, Indego will continue to work towards increasing representation, building a stronger culture of inclusion, and using an equity lens to examine organizational and programmatic initiatives to create a bike share program that all kinds of people feel is for them and benefits their community.
“The City’s bike share system, Indego, continues to provide Philadelphians new, safe, and sustainable options to get where they need to. This is critical to driving inclusive growth and access to opportunity to build a thriving economy that benefits everyone. I’m proud of the work of the City, Bicycle Transit Systems staff, Independence Blue Cross, partners, and community leaders to ensure that the investments we are making in bike share will benefit all Philadelphians regardless of race, age or zip code through the Indego Equity Plan.”Mayor Jim Kenney
“I’m incredibly proud to be a part of a team that is committed to running an equitable bike share system. This is distinctive of Indego and something that sets us apart from many other bike share systems. Equity shows up in every aspect of our work from how we hire and promote employees to where we install new bike share stations to how we engage staff around social justice issues to our bike share pass and fee structure. The Indego equity plan is an exciting demonstration of our commitment to equity and sets key goals that will help make Indego even more equitable for the citizens of Philadelphia and beyond.”Indego’s General Manager, Nate Bowman-Johnston.
As Philly’s bike share heads into year eight of operation, the Indego team and the City of Philadelphia would like to thank you for your continued support! Click the button below to read through the full 2023 Indego Equity Plan.
See also: Press release from the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability, Office of the Mayor
Bicycle Transit Systems is a Philadelphia-based business that specializes in bike share launch, operations, and management. Comprised of the most experienced bike share operations team in the industry, Bicycle Transit Systems manages all operational elements of Indego, including bike and station maintenance, marketing, and customer service.
I have been a user of Indigo since it started. I pay for a yearly membership and ride bikes anywhere from 0 to 20 time a month. I have no interest in the e-bikes. I prefer the exercise from the regular bikes and see no benefit from the extra charge for the e-bike. I calculate that it would run me about $100 for a 20 ride month.
I’m extremely frustrated to find stands with only e-bikes. I can see that most are relatively new – in much bettering shape than the older regular bikes. I’m convinced that I will NOT be renewing my membership when it comes due.