Bluebikes Negotiating Expansion to Newton, Revere, Chelsea, Arlington and Watertown

A memo to the Newton City Council reports that Bluebikes has made "an attractive offer" to expand to Newton and four other municipalities in the region.

Bluebikes docked at South Station in downtown Boston.
Bluebikes docked at South Station in downtown Boston.

Bluebikes, the Boston-based bikesharing service that has been expanding rapidly into Everett and outer neighborhoods of Boston this year, has offered to expand its operations into Newton, Revere, Chelsea, Arlington and Watertown, according to a recent memo to the Newton City Council.

In a memorandum dated October 23, Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and Director of Transportation Planning Nicole Freedman report that Lime, the city’s current bikesharing provider, is evaluating whether to continue its local shared bike operations as it shifts its focus to shared scooters.

Lime currently operates dockless bikesharing services in 15 municipalities in Massachusetts, including Newton, Malden, Chelsea, and Arlington.

The memo goes on to outline Newton officials’ efforts to attract alternative bikeshare providers with assistance from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC).

“Lyft, the operator of the dock-based Bluebikes system… has made an attractive offer to Newton and five other municipalities abutting the existing Bluebikes system,” according to the memo from Mayor Fuller. “The offer requires some funding for capital expenses for five stations per municipality.”

Eric Bourassa, a transportation planner with MAPC, confirmed in a phone conversation Thursday afternoon that Lyft has also reached out to Revere, Chelsea, Watertown and Arlington.

Four of those municipalities – Newton, Arlington, Watertown, and Chelsea – have reportedly submitted a joint grant application to MassDOT for funds to cover part of the capital costs for Bluebikes expansion.

Since May 2018, Bluebikes and its municipal owners have added over 100 new stations and 2,000 additional bikes in its current service area, including an expansion into the City of Everett and new stations in outer Boston neighborhoods like West Roxbury and Mattapan.

Those expansions have driven considerable growth in ridership, to the point where the system celebrated its 10 millionth ride earlier this fall.

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