Malden offers free Bluebike subscriptions as program adds local stations


MALDEN, MA – Malden residents have the opportunity to grab a limited number of 30 days free
Bluebike memberships thanks to federal coronavirus relief funding and three new ones
bike-sharing stations that have opened across town in recent weeks, Mayor Gary Christenson announced Thursday.

The Bluebike scheme has added Malden locations on Exchange Street at Commercial Street, on the Northern Strand Cycleway at Main Street and at Malden High School on Holden Street.

Passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis by visiting the link here. Passengers must be over 16 years old. The passes will grant unlimited 45-minute rides over a 30-day period, with an additional charge of $2.50 for every 30 minutes beyond an initial free rental of 45 minutes.

Residents interested in obtaining a pass should complete the linked online form. They will then receive an email from bluebikes@cityofmalden.org advising them if they have received a pass, as stated in Christenson’s announcement.

The Bluebike program already has more than 400 stations across Boston and surrounding communities.

Christenson touted the program this week, saying its expansion to Malden will increase
access to the bicycle as a healthy and ecological means of transport.

“The Bluebikes program is an important step in promoting safe and sustainable modes of transportation for our many commuters who cannot always rely on car trips or other forms of public transportation,” said Christenson.

Christenson said this week the city dipped into American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to
pay for Bluebike initiation subscriptions for residents.

Christenson previously filed an ARPA request for $150,000 to support the local Bluebike program in May, according to publicly available documents.

The funding was to help fund a three-year pilot project. It came from a $2.2 million subdivision of Malden’s larger ARPA allocation that was specifically earmarked for “citywide mayor’s initiatives.”

Christenson told Patch Thursday that about $21,000 for 30-day Bluebike subscriptions will come as an additional ARPA allowance beyond the $150,000 base cost.

Malden also received a grant to add Bluebike stations with the latest phase of network expansion.

The Bluebike program was launched in 2011. It has since grown to 4,000 bikes at 400 stations in Arlington, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Newton, Revere, Salem, Somerville and Watertown.

Christenson has confirmed plans to bring Bluebikes to Malden in August. While stations are currently limited to three locations around Malden, Christenson said local offerings could expand further if the current launch is successful.

Although new to Bluebikes, Malden is no stranger to the bike share industry.

Lime implemented a dockless bike-sharing model between 2018 and 2020, allowing riders to rent bikes and then leave them when they’re done using them. The model drew criticism from some community members who were frustrated with abandoned bikes littering sidewalks and other public spaces.

Two years after Lime left Malden, Bluebikes comes with a different approach to bike sharing. Cyclists must collect and return their bikes to a designated bike station. Those who don’t return the bikes face a $1,200 fine, according to the Bluebikes website.

See a full map of the Bluebikes system with live data on bike availability at stations here.

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