Better service, and lower costs
Updated: Jun 6
Oooh, the debates are RAGING!! Make public transit rides free, but with lower service levels? Or increase fares, to try to improve service levels? The debates are raging, and if you buy into them this is the choice: you can have one or the other, but you can't have both affordability and quality. Covid has forced the US public transit system to go back to first principles and to think hard about priorities. From Chicago to San Francisco to New York, and so very many places in-between, the debates are RAGING.
But what if...
What if service levels could be improved, while fare prices were cut? What if people could buy a monthly transit pass that let them go where they want, when they want, at a price that they could afford - and that cities could afford to give for free to those who need it?
What if it turns out that this is the moment when cities and states (to say nothing of the feds) decide that what matters is helping people have access, not trying to hold the line at doing the same old thing.
Well, here at FreeBike we've noticed that having an electric bike at your home is way, way cheaper than other ways of getting around. And, we've noticed that having an electric bike at your home is way, way more reliable than trying to time your mobility needs to the transit schedule. Wait, both cheaper and more reliable?? Yes. In fact, our view is that distributing electric bikes (and scooters, and wheelchairs) is so much cheaper and so much more flexible than old-fashioned mass transit that it can't help but become part of how a city goes about ensuring that the public is able to move. We're not saying that buses and trains should go away - far from it, they're crucial, essential, and epically good at certain tasks - but we are saying that for most riders, most of the time, a personal electric bike is a better solution.
Once-in-a-generation debates are raging in the world of public transit. We kindly submit: start with the rider's needs, not what was done before. Reliability. Flexibility. Affordability. Fun. Health. When new tools come along, they let us go with "and" rather than "or". Picture your city, but with everyone able to hop on a light electric vehicle that was dedicated to them for months at a time. Reliability AND affordability. "AND" is so much nicer than "OR".