CEO Announcement: Bike Transit Announces New CEO

A message from Alison Cohen, Founder of Bike Transit:

As you know, I founded the company and have been deeply involved in all aspects of its operations and leadership. I’ve loved all of it –it’s been amazing to see bikeshare grow and see Bike Transit grow from infancy to a full-grown teenager. And it’s time for Bike Transit to grow in new ways beyond its founding. To that end, I’ll be stepping into a role. I will be dedicating my time to business development to figure out how we can grow up and out, and I will be reporting to the new CEO.

I am excited to announce that stepping into the role of CEO of Bike Transit is Kristin Gavin-Wisniewski. Kristin has been the fearless leader of Indego Bike Share in Philadelphia for 6 years, and a champion of bike share equity.

As owner of the company, I am far from disappearing. I am still deeply passionate about bike share and intend to work closely with the team to help grow micromobility in the US.

Best,

Alison

A message from Kristin Gavin-Wisniewski, CEO of Bike Transit:

I am thrilled to be stepping in to lead Bike Transit. I have never felt more committed to our team and our work of bringing bike share to communities. Over the past 18 months, I have experienced what it is like to be a human-being in a pandemic; developed a deepened awareness and understanding of the racial and social inequities that perpetuate injustices and separate us; and experienced first-hand the impending impacts of climate change. By operating bike share programs, we get to be a part of the fabric of the community – an amazing privilege and opportunity in which our work can be a force for good.

I am fired up and ready to go, with a sense of urgency to affect positive change.

Let’s do this!

Kristin

Stop AAPI Hate

Bike Transit stands with the Asian American Pacific Islander community.
Bike Transit は、アジア系アメリカ人(AAPI)のコミュニティを支持しています
Ang Bike Transit ay nakatayo kasama ang komunidad ng mga Asyano-Amerikanong Taga-isla Pasipiko.
Bike Transit 和亞裔美國太平洋島民社區在一起
Bike Transit 는 아시아계 미국인 태평양 제도민 커뮤니티와 함께합니다.
Bike Transit ủng hộ cộng đồng người Mỹ gốc Á và người dân vùng đảo Thái Bình Dương.
Bike Transit ยืนอยู่คู่กับชุมชนชาวเกาะแห่งเอเชียอเมริกันแปซิฟิก

As Women’s History Month comes to a close we are reminded of our collective responsibility to stand against discrimination and hate. We, Alison and Carniesha, write this as two leaders who identify as various intersections of marginalized communities: female, Black, Jewish, LGBTQ, and we advocate for actions needed to address disparities and improve life outcomes for all. Racist, xenophobic and misogynic attacks on the Asian American Pacific Islander community are happening and deserve more attention and support from us all.  

Our company, Bike Transit, stands with the AAPI community and their position on the realities of recent and past tragedies. While there may be conflict from media and others as to whether or not these are hate crimes, countless members from the AAPI community have stated these murderous attacks result from historical mistreatment of their community. The laws in our land historically make it difficult for marginalized communities to “prove” hate crimes and despite this, again we stand with and support what AAPI and other marginalized groups know to be true- unfettered hate results in lives lost.  

Tuesday, March 17th hours before the tragic event in Atlanta where 8 people were killed including 6 Asian women and 1 Latina woman, we held our monthly companywide BOOST Coffee and Conversation where our topic for the month was bringing awareness to the underreporting of AAPI hate incidents. As colleagues we discussed what we can do to support AAPI anti-hate efforts and our colleagues who are a part of this community.  We’re not committed to just having conversations, as a company we are committed to taking the journey of addressing how systemic oppressions like White Supremacy, racism and misogyny impact us an individuals, colleagues and community members.  

We understand long term commitment is required—words and solidarity statements aren’t enough. To ensure both communities and riders see themselves in our actions and services, in 2020 Bike Transit developed a DEIJ (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice) plan to deepen our previous efforts to improve internal and external business practices. While we have a long-term commitment, we also understand urgency and real time action is needed especially during times of devastation such as last week. Here at Bike Transit:

  • Members of Bike Transit’s DEIJ Committee have enrolled in Bystander Intervention Training to Stop Anti-Asian American and Xenophobic Harassment offered through www.ihollaback.org. This will help guide future trainings and events offered to all employees.
  • We are donating to AAPI-led community-based organizations in the cities of the bike share systems we operate, who provide critical services to AAPI and other community members as they address the needs of vulnerable individuals and families. 
  • We continue to elevate Bike Transit’s position on DEIJ issues internally and externally. 

This is hard work and we believe in our collective ability to be the change we want to see in our communities and society as whole. We encourage our bike share industry colleagues and other stakeholders to join us in anti-hate AAPI and other justice driven actions!

In Solidarity,  
Alison Cohen, Chief Executive Officer and  
Carniesha Kwashie, Chief Equity and Strategy Officer

Black Lives Matter

Bike Transit unequivocally, absolutely supports nationwide protests and Black Lives Matters

Typically at Bike Transit, we work behind the scenes. Indego is the Philly brand, Metro Bike Share in LA, RTC Bike Share in Vegas, Bloc delivery, our new baby startup. Our employees work in all weather everyday and night to take care of our bike share systems. We have powered over 4 million bike rides, through hurricanes, blizzards, strikes and now a pandemic. We have incredible city partners, and have been honored to grow with them, in implementing and operating bike share systems that are equitably planned, marketed and operated. With the unpredictable world of bike share and Silicon Valley scooters, Bike Transit is still here.

While doing this, for the past 4 years, Bike Transit has quietly prioritized and institutionalized diversity, equity and inclusion, and powered equitable bike share in our cities. Our background position is humble, and safe. However, the time is now that Bike Transit, and I as its leader, must change that. Specifically, the act of writing this post is both an acknowledgement of the power and position that I have, or can have, as a CEO, and it is my transition to being an active anti-racist leader, not only internal to the company, but outwardly as well.

Bike Transit unequivocally and absolutely stands in solidarity with our black colleagues and the black communities we serve against racism of all kinds – historic, systemic, micro-aggressed, unconscious and outright. The facts, knowledge and belief that the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, the white woman’s threat to Christian Cooper in Central Park, and the dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions of black people who have been murdered, lynched, oppressed, enslaved, imprisoned, for hundreds of years, are the result of deep-seated institutional racism in American society since its beginning. We have tried at Bike Transit, brick-by-brick, to dismantle the foundations of racist institutions, through equitable access to bike share, equitable operations, employee education, HR policy and hiring. And leaders in our company, myself included, must constantly examine and intentionally correct how our racist society is impacting what we do at Bike Transit and in our lives.

We at Bike Transit stand behind the protests, are allies to Black Lives Matter, and the movement to disassemble the foundations of institutional racism. We will continue to work to implement such practices in our company and in our bike share systems. To further this mission and amplify the voices of those who are on the front line of this battle, we have made donations to The Minnesota Freedom Fund, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Know Your Rights Camp. These donations follow past significant support for the ACLU, and for local groups in our communities providing programming, infrastructure and support for the safe streets, transportation and youth support.

In the coming weeks, Bike Transit will be creating safe spaces for our employees to discuss their experiences and opinions, and identify ways to be agents of change. The first such conversation happened in LA on Friday and we will be providing similar forums on a regular basis, both local and company-wide in the future .

I am angry at all of this, and I can only imagine the anger that people of color feel, having experienced everyday discrimination their whole lives. As a leader, however, I do not do well being motivated by anger. I have come to understand that the change I lead is motivated by a positive and hopeful vision, and is implemented piece by piece. I have led Bike Transit in this way in implementing our bike share systems, and in implementing BOOST, Bike Transit’s company-wide DEI working group. The bike share systems that we have launched and the hard work that we do every day may not seem revolutionary, but our work has supported the transportation equity movement. Our employees share our long-term commitment to true equity in our society, where every person is treated as a human, and have the same opportunity in life, no matter their race, gender, income standing or background.

One thing I am aware of as I write this: I have made and will make mistakes along the way. They will be active mistakes, and that is incredibly scary. To date, I have been an outwardly passive actor and not used my power and my position to advance anti-racism. I have stayed safe and therefore have supported racist people and institutions. That must stop. As a middle-aged woman, I have had my power marginalized to men, and even given them power because its safer. With this moment, I am vowing to be more than an ally, but a true partner with the black community and people of color, and to take my position of power to advance in solidarity against racism, despite the associated personal, professional, public risks that come along with this promise.

Perhaps I can help supply an extra push to the battering rams to destroy the ugly foundations of racism in America. 

Alison Cohen
Founder, Owner, President and CEO of Bicycle Transit Systems

UPDATE: With this post, I’m challenging leaders in the bike, bike share and micromobility industry to use your power, your positions, to look at your organizations, take actions, educate yourself and your staff, have conversations, take a public stand. If you don’t have that power in your organization, push the folks in power to do so. It’s scary and risky. Reach out to me and let’s take that step together to become active anti-racists, and put bikes and transportation at the forefront of bringing down systemic racism.

If we are not active against, we are passively supporting racism.