New city program aims to expand Biketown to low-income riders

(KATU Photo)

A new city program looks to get existing users to donate money to help those in need.

Portland’s Bureau of Transportation is trying to get more low-income riders to use Biketown, the city’s bike-sharing program.

But having a checking account is required for most users, so many low-income users who could benefit most from the cheap transportation option can’t use it.

To make it easier to join, Biketown is letting riders donate any bonus money left in their accounts to those in need.

"Those will cover one month of Biketown for all for other members. So, what we want to do is expand Biketown for all to more people in Portland," said Hannah Schaefer, a spokeswoman for PBOT. "We want to make sure that there's no barrier for them to get involved, and by doing a first month free, which is how we'll use those credits, then they can get involved right away."

PBOT said those low-income riders can then pay for their monthly membership by returning a few bikes to the orange docks to get a dollar back.

Right now, about 500 people are involved in Biketown for All, which offers reduced fares.

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