Earlier this month, the chairs of the Congressional Bike Caucus introduced a bipartisan bill (#faints) called the “Bikeshare Transit Act.” By designating bike-share systems as public transportation, the legislation would make them clearly eligible for federal funding—something that’s currently a gray area. U.S. cities could then use this money for equipment, station technology, and cycling facilities to make a bike-share system even better.
If the bill becomes law it would serve as welcome recognition by federal officials of an increasingly popular urban travel mode. And from a mobility standpoint it’s not a stretch to consider bike-share a complementary part of established bus and rail networks. But the designation raises some flags from an equity standpoint, because to date bike-share systems have done a pretty awful job helping the very populations that rely on transit most: the urban poor.