Logo   Boston BLUEbikes Bicycle Rental
Like velib' in Paris, Boston's Blue Bikes (formerly Hubway) is a short-trip bike rental system to get you around the city and even to Cambridge.




It started in Paris with the velib' free short-trip bicycle sharing system: you registered for the system, guaranteed your membership with a credit card, then you borrowed any velib' bicycle from any velib' bike station in the city, took a hsort trip (less than 30 minutes) to another part of the city, and returned the bike to another bike station.

This is not a normal bicycle-rental deal. Normally, you'd rent a bike from a bike shop by the hour, the day or the week. The longer you rented the bike, the happier the shop owner would be.

BLUEbikes, however, are to be used only for short trips (less than 30 minutes) in the cities of Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville instead of driving, taking a taxi, or using fossil-fueled public transport. If you keep a bike for more than 30 minutes, you pay an overage fee.

BLUEbikes' goal is to offer you public transport that you power and that releases no greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Going by bike is faster than walking, faster and cheaper than mass transit for short trips, and in some ways as convenient as a taxi or car.

It even helps to keep Bostonians healthy and trim obesity!

There is a downside, of course. You must learn the system, bring your own bike helmet, endure the risks of riding a bicycle in a big city, perhaps get wet if it rains.

But you can balance this with the exercise you'll get from your ride, and the fun of seeing the city by bike.

BLUEbikes are not free, but it is quite reasonably priced for those who find that it fits their needs. A 24-hour pass costs $10 for two 2-hour rides. (Note! It is NOT rental of a bike for 24 hours!)

A single-trip, 30-minute pass costs $2.50

For $99 you get an entire year's worth of 45-minute rides. If your trip ends up being longer than 45 minutes, you'll pay $2.50 for each additional 30-minute period.

For example, you may be staying at the Revere Hotel Boston Common in the Theater District and decide you want to ride a bike to the Prudential Center to board your Duck Tour. You'd go to the BLUEbikes station at the corner of Stuart and Charles streets (here's a map of all bike stations), take a bike, ride the 1.2 miles (2 km) in about 10 minutes, and turn in your bike at the Prudential Green Line subway station Hubway station.

On foot, the same trip would take you twice as long. It would also be longer by public transit. The drive in a car would be shorter...but not when you include the time needed to park the car (at great expense). The ride by taxi would cost more (though not, perhaps, for three passengers sharing a taxi.)

Complete instructions for using the BLUEbikes system are displayed at each bike station. If you have a smartphone, download the BLUEbikes app to make renting and claiming your bike easier. At a bike stand, you swipe your credit card to pay the fee, receive an unlocking code, input the code on a bike stand, take your bike, and you're on your way.

You can also register for membership online, and also see bike station location maps:

—by Tom Brosnahan

Biking in Boston


City Bus


Commuter Rail

Boston Transportation

Finding Your Way in Boston

Boston Hotels

What to See & Do in Boston

About Boston


Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Hubway Bike Rental System, Boston MA

Bikes waiting for riders....



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