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Biketown Makes All Portland-Area College Students on Financial Aid Eligible for Free Rides

The benefit isn’t just for Portland State University students, but every PSU student qualifies for a free bike ride.

Imagine sliding out of campus after an all-nighter—the term paper finally turned in—loading your heavy textbooks into the front basket of an e-bike and allowing that electricity-assisted simple machine to do almost all the work, on the sleepy pedal home.

Yesterday’s Biketown announcement made this a far more likely scenario for Portland college students this fall.

In an expansion of Biketown for All, the Portland Bureau of Transportation announced it is increasing the program’s eligibility to include Portland-area students.

Biketown for All offers an unlimited number of rides per month to its program members, without monthly fees. Each ride can be up to 60 minutes in duration. Portlanders in a variety of economically vulnerable situations—like those receiving SNAP assistance or unemployment—are eligible.

The actual wording of the new eligibility criteria on the e-bike sharing service’s website is: “Students receiving Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) - Portland Campuses Only.”

Therefore, the benefit isn’t just for Portland State University students. It’s for any student receiving federal financial aid to attend classes on a Portland campus.

The service is going one better for PSU, however; even PSU students who don’t qualify for the special membership rate will be eligible to receive $20 worth of free ride time per month.

“As students are returning to classrooms this fall, this is the perfect time for them to experience the excitement of riding Biketown’s e-bikes,” PBOT director Chris Warner said in a press release.

Those juicy, free monthly minutes (which reset every month) are available now. But the process calls for a little e-paperwork. “College students will upload a digital copy of their FAFSA award letter. PSU students should sign up at the PSU Biketown website,” the release explains.

The release also notes that the expansion of Biketown for All was made possible by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Oregon Clean Fuels Program via the PGE Drive Change Fund.

The city commissioner who oversees PBOT, Jo Ann Hardesty, reflected this environmental driver in her statements. “With extreme weather and climate change challenging our community, we need to do everything we can to make sure everyone has easy access to riding a bike,” she said.

Correction: In a previous version of this story, WW incorrectly described the Bikes for All program as offering 60 minutes worth of rides per month, when the program offers unlimited rides per month and each ride can last up to 60 minutes in duration. WW regrets this error.