Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has new payment option, expansion plans
Detroiters will no longer have to fumble with digital kiosks or clear space for a phone app when renting a MoGo bicycle.
The Detroit-based nonprofit bikeshare organization is now allowing riders to buy a pass through their phone’s web browser by visiting mogodetroit.org. Jeremy Rosenberg, director of marketing and community outreach, said the website should make the process smoother for riders over booking through the Transit App or physical solar-powered kiosks at MoGo docking stations.
Rosenberg said the kiosks are in constant need of maintenance after being vandalized or otherwise damaged. Even when they are working they take longer to book a ride when compared to the online option.
Since launching in 2017, MoGo has nearly doubled its bikeshare stations and expanded into Berkley, Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Oak Park and Royal Oak. Data from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics show 80 MoGo stations in Detroit.
The bikeshare system started in the greater downtown area of Detroit and has added stations in northern neighborhoods near Palmer Park and the Avenue of Fashion while expanding to Belle Isle Park and along the Detroit River.
“Belle Isle was the most requested spot since the day we launched,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg said the nonprofit is always looking for new areas to expand. MoGo plans to add new docking stations, and move existing stations, along bus routes and the QLINE. Rosenberg said MoGo is coordinating with public transit systems to fill in transportation gaps. Living Lab also provided funding to help MoGo integrate bike share with city bus routes.
MoGo is seeking grant funds to pay for expansion into other yet-to-be determined Detroit neighborhoods, Rosenberg said, though the organization is looking at neighborhoods along the planned Joe Louis Greenway route. MoGo is also looking for funding to put stations in Highland Park and Hamtramck.
“We’d like to see a MoGo station on every street corner of Detroit,” he said in an interview. “We want to be as equitable and reliable as possible; we want to be a transit system and not just a leisure activity.”
A grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation helped pay for three new Belle Isle stations and another station coming to Gabriel Richard Park. In the last year, MoGo added two stations to the Michigan Central and Newlab campuses and three stations in the North End and Milwaukee Junction with support from Ford Motor Co. and the Knight Foundation. MoGo is planning additions to Scripps Park, and along Grand River and Warren avenues.
Rosenberg said supply chain problems that affected the availability of personal bikes also hit bikeshare organizations, putting stations on back order.
Bicycle rentals are pay as you go, priced at $1 to start and 25 cents per minute. Riders can purchase temporary passes that allow for longer rides. MoGo passes can be purchased at DivDat kiosks located in government buildings, which allows users to pay with cash.
Rosenberg said MoGo serves roughly 100,000 riders per year. Micromobility ridership across the country ballooned in the last decade, with e-scooter ridership nearly doubling from 2020 to 2021.
(Source: National Association of City Transportation Officials)
The number of bikeshare systems also doubled between 2015 to 2019 but declined during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 30, there were 56 docked bikeshare systems in American cities. Rosenberg said bikeshare is cheaper, safer and allows riders to travel farther distances compared to e-scooters.
“We’re not a corporate entity that came in and took over overnight and put bikes downtown and nowhere else – everything we do is meant to advance equity, inclusion, accessibility,” he said. “All these things combat the idea that bikeshare is a white hipster thing. We’re trying to be a transportation system.”
Unlike electric scooters, MoGo bikes can’t be dropped anywhere. Rental bikes must be securely locked at another MoGo station. Each station is solar-powered, which allows them to charge electric pedal assist bikes.
Detroiters who are enrolled in a state financial benefit program can receive a major discount – $5 for an unlimited number of one-hour trips for a year. Rosenberg said between 25% and 30% of MoGo’s members are taking advantage of the discounted pass.
Residents who have a disability that prevents them from riding a traditional bicycle can also reserve adaptive cycles. A new adaptive location opened this month near a parking lot outside the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Outdoor Adventure Center on Atwater Street.
(Image courtesy of MoGo)
Riders can reserve recumbent tricycles, hand tricycles, tandem cycles, side-by-side cycles and other accessible options on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday through Oct. 28.
“This partnership with the Outdoor Adventure Center will benefit our riders’ experience in an immeasurable way,” Jacob Graham, director of programming and operations at MoGo, said in a statement. “The opportunity to place Adaptive MoGo adjacent to accessible bike infrastructure will improve rider safety, and expose users to more bike-friendly amenities like the Dequindre Cut, Riverwalk, and Dennis Archer Greenway.”
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