Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana will be the sponsor of New Orleans's bike share program when it returns to the streets. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana was the original sponsor of the Blue Bikes program that started in 2017 by Lime, the former program operator. Lime ended bike share in New Orleans in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This ended Blue Cross's original sponsorship commitment, and Blue Cross then entered a five-year sponsorship with Blue Krewe.
Blue Krewe is a nonprofit organization working to bring back bike share to New Orleans with the support of Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the city's Office of Transportation. Blue Krewe's mission is to give people access to an easy, healthy, and sustainable form of transportation that is operated by and for the people. Blue Bikes have been a successful mode of transportation for citizens prior to the pandemic. People pay a small fee to get to work, doctor appointments, the grocery store, or just some fresh air and exercise. Even though it was shut down because of the pandemic, bike share has increased in other markets because citizens see it as a reliable mode of transportation while being able to social distance.
Founded in 1934, Blue Cross is a nonprofit health insurer with offices in major regions of Louisiana. Its mission is to improve the health and lives of Louisiana's citizens. Rod Teamer, the Blue Cross director of Diversity Program and Business Development, stated, "We take tremendous pride in sponsoring an alternative, healthy mode of transportation for New Orleans residents, visitors, and tourists. We have missed seeing the Blue Bikes on the streets." After Mayor Cantrell announced the Blue Cross sponsorship, she said, "We appreciated their decision to sponsor Blue Bikes and their partnership to improve the health of our residents."
For a seamless transition, Blue Cross worked with Uber, the program operator before Lime, to ensure Blue Bikes's social media stayed with the program. Blue Cross is transitioning this to Blue Krewe to be used in the new bike share program. Uber also donated the existing Blue Bike racks to Blue Krewe to allow for a quick return of the bikes to New Orleans's streets. Blue Krewe plans to have Blue Bikes accessible again by September 1, 2021.
For more information, visit bluekrewe.org.