Will Doig defends Washington’s Bikeshare program from a libertarian critique suggesting it mostly benefits the affluent:
[I]f it’s public transportation, it gets subsidized, whether libertarians like it or not. We’ve always subsidized public transportation for a boatload of good reasons: It reduces congestion, it raises property values, and most cities function much better with it than without it. If the Reason reporter disagrees with public-transportation funding in general (and I suspect that she does) then that’s the argument she should make, rather than pretend this is about the fairly small amount of funding for this bikeshare….
Not that the inequality issue doesn’t matter. It’s a serious problem, and this is a perfect opportunity to figure out how to broaden the system’s appeal. Are there enough bikeshare stations in low-income neighborhoods? Are more low-income commuters shuttling children or packages to work? Is the credit-card hurdle too high, and if so, how can we make it easier to use the system? Maybe outreach is too confined to social media. Or maybe bikeshare needs a bigger government subsidy to bring prices into reach for those who can’t afford them.