Having just celebrated their five-year anniversary, Pacers Bikeshare currently operates throughout downtown Indianapolis, with over 500,000 rides taken on the system. Building on their success, Pacers Bikeshare announced that the system will expand outside the downtown, adding another 23 stations and 275 new bikes to communities this summer. NASBA spoke with Executive Director Kären Haley about the system.

1) Let’s start with the history, since Pacers has a unique origin and structure. How did Pacers Bikeshare come to be a part of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail?
Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc., in partnership with the City of Indianapolis started the Pacers Bikeshare program in 2014 as a way for people to make bicycles more accessible and available for people in downtown Indianapolis and as a way for people to experience the 8 mile, and at the time, recently completed Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene and Marilyn Glick. The Cultural Trail separates bikes and pedestrians from vehicle traffic making it THE way people get around downtown.

2) You just celebrated your five year anniversary and 500,000 rides. How has having the bikeshare system affected the use of the trail?
Building Pacers Bikeshare along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail makes it really easy for anyone to use a bicycle in Indianapolis. There is a strong synergy between the Trail and the bikeshare program and the two have strengthened each other making both the Trail and bikes more accessible for everyone.

3) Tell us more about the EveryBody Rides program and your Ambassadors program. How has it improved access?
EveryBody Rides is our effort to get everyone to use Pacers Bikeshare regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity or income level. It encompasses everything from making sure our marketing materials reflect our community to doing group rides with our partner agencies and their clients and an annual pass program for people who find themselves in low income situations.
Over the past five years we have steadily grown the program building upon a strong network of partnerships with diverse organizations to make sure we are bringing bike share to niche groups and traditionally underrepresented neighborhoods and populations. For example, our EveryBody Rides coordinator has taken case workers from both a homeless veterans organization and a local homeless shelter on group rides so that they can better understand how Pacers Bikeshare can meet their clients transportation and mental health needs.

4) Pacers Bikeshare just announced an exciting expansion beyond the downtown footprint. What are your goals for the expansion?
We are excited to expand the system later this summer to reach neighborhoods and destinations outside of downtown and the Cultural Trail. Knowing the important relationship between strong ridership and save bicycle infrastructure, our expansion is built along the city’s bike lane and greenway network, all of which connect people to downtown and the Cultural Trail.
To make the system more accessible, we also just changed to Pay As You Ride for everyone other then our annual pass holders, so you only pay for what you use when riding Pacers Bikeshare. [Ed note: The Pay as You Go pricing structure is $1/ride and 15 cents a minute for the duration of the trip with no time limitation.]

5) You are our host partner for the 2019 NABSA Conference! What are you most excited to show members and attendees when they come to Indy?
We’re always thrilled to show people around the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, it is a world class model for how trails and beautiful connectivity can transform urban environments, connect neighborhoods and inspire creativity and economic development as a byproduct.
Of course the best way to see Indianapolis is from the seat of a Pacers Bikeshare bike (I’m not making this up, several media outlets have said this), so with the NABSA conference coming shortly after our expanded system, I’m excited for people to be able to explore even more of Indianapolis while they are here. We all know the best part of most any city is what you find in the neighborhoods and that is exactly where you will be able to explore using Pacers Bikeshare and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail when people are here in late September.