It’s been over five months since the coronavirus pandemic changed the way we go about our everyday lives. During this time, we learned how to live with face masks, how to use Zoom and Skype, and above all: how to stay safe. Here is an overview of how Indego has kept the system running, worked to keep riders informed, and found ways to engage with our community during the COVID-19 health crisis.
Here for Your Essential Travel
As concern about the coronavirus grew in early spring, the Indego team knew that it was critical that we keep the system running. We know that biking is not just a form of recreation; it is a mode of transportation for essential workers and a way for folks to access essential resources. Indego and the Department of Public Health worked together in March to understand how to continue operating the system in a safe and responsible way.
Increased Safety Measures
Following guidance from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and guidelines set by the CDC, Indego staff began regularly disinfecting high-touch areas of bikes and stations when serviced. We also sent all non-operations staff to work remotely in order to have fewer people in our warehouse and keep everyone safe. To date, we have had zero cases of COVID-19 among Indego staff.
To help our riders understand how to use bike share responsibly, we included information on our kiosks, as well as in our digital communications, encouraging everyone to wash their hands before and after riding, avoid touching their faces, and stay at least 6 ft away from other riders.
In response to the impacts of the pandemic on public transportation, we offered our monthly pass for $5 ($2.50 with a PA ACCESS card) from April through May. We also aligned our messaging with SEPTA to let the public know that Indego was still accessible and safe to use.
In addition to supporting SEPTA while they worked under reduced hours, Indego was also able to help The Philadelphia Department of Public Health deliver cribs to new parents in need. Once COVID started, this department lost its ability to deliver free cribs to new parents and Indego was able to lend a helping hand. As of today, we’ve helped deliver over 300 cribs to families all over Philadelphia!
Recently, we updated the Indego mobile app to introduce contactless payment with Apple and Google Pay, as well as mobile unlock. That means that riders can now find bikes, purchase passes, and unlock an Indego bike directly from their smartphone! By making buying a pass and checking out a bike a quick and mostly contactless experience, we hope our riders feel even more comfortable accessing Indego during this time.
The New Normal
As soon as the pandemic began and more people transitioned to working remotely, we saw changes in commuter patterns and how folks are using the system. In April and May, we saw that many people were using Indego to access essential services, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and hospitals. As we moved into the yellow and green phases, we’ve seen that more and more people are using Indego for recreation and their mental wellness.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art station is now the top-performing station and, to support the high demand, our team was able to install a temporary Indego station just a few feet away at the Schuylkill Banks Pergola.
Additionally, we have doubled the number of active Indego30 and Indego30 Access Passholders compared to this time last year and our Access Passholders are riding more than ever!
Staying Engaged With the Community
With the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis on Philadelphia, the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP) team recognized there was an opportunity to offer a helping hand. During the month of May, BBSP awarded 13 non-profit organizations in Philadelphia with mini-grants to support operations or programming related to COVID-19 relief efforts. To find out more about these organizations and how they are supporting their communities during this time, click here!
Did you know you can now engage with Indego virtually? With so many new riders, the Indego team knew it was important to continue our educational classes, which are led by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. Our programming now takes place on Zoom in Spanish and English and is live-streamed on Indego’s Facebook page. To see a list of upcoming classes and other engagement opportunities, click here!
In August, Indego started distributing community care packages, which included the items pictured below. We wanted communities that had transit barriers to know that Indego is still operating and to provide them with the resources to get started and ride safely. We were fortunate to work with our previous Ambassador organizations, who were already at the front lines for resource distribution, to get free masks, hand sanitizers, helmets, bike guides, and more in the hands of anyone who needs them!
Indego will continue to operate and adapt to this changing landscape. As always, we will prioritize the safety of our riders and will communicate system changes and updates as quickly as possible. We want to thank all of our partners for helping their communities get through these challenging times – your hard work does not go unnoticed!
We also see our riders doing an amazing job! Let’s keep it up by: maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from other people, washing your hands for 20 seconds often, not touching your face, and wearing a mask.
We’ll ride through this together!
For more information on how to stay safe during this time visit the City of Philadelphia’s official COVID-19 web page.
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.
This blog was written by Emily Hooven, the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Indego Bike Share.