Blue Bikes are expected to begin cruising through the streets on Wednesday, and officials are promising a bigger, better Boston-area bike-share system is just around the corner.
The rebranded system, formerly known as Hubway, is getting support — and a new color scheme — from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
"We think riders will be pleased with the improvements they'll see, and we hope to encourage new users to take a Blue Bike for a spin to school or work," Andrew Dreyfus, president and chief executive of Blue Cross, said in a statement. "We're proud to help expand bike share access across the metro region, since it aligns with our mission to help residents of the Commonwealth lead healthy lives."
The Blue Bikes partners are Blue Cross; Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline, which own the system; and Motivate International Inc., which runs it, said Amy McHugh, a Blue Cross spokeswoman.
Brand-new Blue Bikes will replace 1,300 of Hubway's fleet of 1,800 bikes. The remaining 500 will be refurbished and rebranded, McHugh said.
More bikes will be added in the future. By the end of 2019, there will be 3,000 Blue Bikes on the streets and more than 100 new bike stations, adding to the existing 185, Blue Bikes said in a statement.
Blue Bikes said that it would also add new mobile app features, and ensure more bikes are available at busy stations.
Blue Bikes will offer some fare relief to bike-share users. A year of unlimited 30-minute rides on Hubway cost $99. Under Blue Bikes, that will become a year of unlimited 45-minute rides. People can get $15 off during the month of May, too, McHugh said.
Blue Bikes will also offer a one-ride pass for $2.50, which hasn't been available before, McHugh said.
All bikes, stations, webpages, and the mobile app will reflect the new Blue Bikes branding by May 16, Blue Bikes said.
To celebrate the advent of Blue Bikes, rides will be free on May 18, National Bike to Work Day, officials said.