Metro

Hubway is changing its name to Blue Bikes

A rider prepared to cross Boylston Street after renting a bike at the Hubway station in Boston's Copley Square.
Wendy Maeda/Boston Globe File 2014
A rider prepared to cross Boylston Street after renting a bike at the Hubway station in Boston's Copley Square.

Hubway is rolling out a new name and a new look.

The bike program in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline will soon become Blue Bikes, according to Motivate International Inc., the company that operates the system. The makeover is part of a new six-year partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts that was announced Wednesday.

“Hubway will re-launch as Blue Bikes this spring and become an even bigger and better bike-share system,” the company said. “Blue Cross Blue Shield’s support will greatly expand access to bike share in the metro region and allow for major updates.”

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According to details of the partnership, the system will be beefed up in the coming years, with over 1,000 additional bikes and 100 new stations in the four municipalities set to hit the streets by 2019.

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While riders can expect some visual changes and an expanded network, the way the system works will remain the same, the company said.

“Members can continue to access Hubway stations even as they turn Blue — you’ll be able to use your same account, same app, and same key throughout the transition, and everything will seamlessly rollover to Blue Bikes,” Motivate’s statement said. “Blue Bikes will continue to be a public transportation system, owned by the municipalities of Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, and Somerville, and operated by Motivate.”

Annual memberships in the bike system cost $99. Users can also buy a 24-hour pass for $8 or a 72-hour pass for $15.

Other changes will include upgrades to the system overall, new bikes, and new mobile app features, Blue Cross said.

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Hubway was first launched in Boston, in 2011. Since then, it has grown rapidly, to more than 180 bike stations. Motivate, a private company, also runs the bike systems in New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

Elected officials on Wednesday praised the Blue Cross Blue Shield partnership.

“Riding a bicycle is not only one of most cost-effective ways to get around an urban environment like Somerville, it also promotes one of our community’s core goals: healthy living,” Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone said in a statement.

“We’re proud and thankful that this partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will allow us to more than double the number of bike-share stations here over the next two years and give more residents a better opportunity to travel throughout Somerville — and beyond — by bike.”

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com.