New Orleans bike share program to be named 'Blue Bikes' will hit streets this fall_lowres

Mayor Mitch Landrieu and City Councilmember Jason Williams test out bikes in February 2017.

Blue Bikes will debut across New Orleans this fall as part of a citywide bike sharing program that brings 700 bikes to 70 locations.

On Aug. 9, city officials revealed the program's title sponsor will be Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. The bikes are provided by bike share vendor Social Bicycles. The program is funded entirely through sponsorships, ads and rental fees, according to the city.

[jump] [content-1] The city offered a glimpse at the new system as it prepared for NBA All-Star Weekend and extended the preview through March. This spring, the city asked residents for their input on locations, and more than 100 people attended six meetings about the program's plans.

Beginning later this fall, the bikes will be available 24 hours a day at kiosks throughout the city. Riders will have to download a smartphone app and start an account to access the bikes. A monthly pass is $15, which covers up to one hour of riding a day. The city also will offer a pass for low-income riders at $1.67 a month ($20 a year). There also is a "pay-as-you-go" rate for $8 per hour of use.

Each eight-speed, chainless blue-colored bike is equipped with GPS and "remote locking capabilities" and front and rear lights and a basket. Riders also can track their miles pedaled, calories burned and amount of carbon they offset by riding rather than driving.