Is MoGo in Detroit Worth It?

 Mogo header image

In this episode of “Oh Look, Another New Thing”, Detroit now has a public bike sharing program.

It’s called MoGo.

 Summary of how MoGo works from their  website.

Summary of how MoGo works from their website.

Dope! A bike sharing program that covers more area than the Zagsters in Downtown. Yasss. 

What is the first thing I care about when something new comes my way?

HOW MUCH IS IT GONNA COST ME?

Here is the price breakdown:

  • $8 daily pass
  • $18 monthly pass
  • $80 annual pass
  • Also, anyone who receives state benefits can get an annual pass for $5.
 MoGo  Price tiers  from their website

MoGo Price tiers from their website

Ok so...at a minimum it’s going to cost $8.

There is no hourly fee. I checked. This has to be a whole day affair.

I figure that the smart people at MoGo thought about the pricing structure already so maybe they’re right.

But is it right for me or nah? Do the numbers make MoGo worth it? 

Is there a situation where taking MoGo in Detroit would actually be better than the alternatives? (Alternatives include: Uber/Lyft/Zipcar/Bus/QLine/Walk)

I crunched the numbers and did the situational math for you.

Keep in mind this is my analysis. I couldn't possibly have perfect information, but I have a lot of it when it comes to what works and what doesn't work in my life...financially or otherwise.

Drum roll...

MoGo is worth it for only very specific situations:

  1. MOST USEFUL SITUATION: You’re visiting Detroit and you want a bike as your main mode of transportation for the whole day. If you live here, it would be good for visiting friends that you want to show around. Your territory is limited, but it could still be a cute tour of the City.

  2. EH, I GUESS: When you don’t have a bike and you would only want one for leisure rather than actually getting somewhere on a regular basis. BUT if you use it more than two times a month, you’re encroaching towards the $18 monthly tier. Also if you’re using it that much, at this point you might as well like...save for a bike or something? idk it's your money so do you, playa.

  3. THAT’S CUTE MOGO, I GUESS: If you receive state benefits can take advantage of $5/year reduced rate. The sad part is you’re only limited to the neighborhoods mainly touching Downtown. You have to live within the territory of MoGo’s service area, and need to get to work within their territory. If you deviate from this niche situation at all, you might as well stay on one mode of transportation like the bus that provides you with more solutions. I imagine people have to live entire lives that will involve more than what they can do with MoGo's service. I wonder if the fee for keeping it more than 30 minutes still exists. Those could add up.

Major Downfalls of MoGo Bike Sharing:


30 Minute Bike Limit (I *HATE* This One)

So once you have a bike pass, you can only use it for 30 minutes at a time.

That means that the moment you take it out of its docking station, you have 30 minutes to get it to another dock or YOU GET CHARGED MORE.

$4 dollars for every additional 30 minutes. GURL WHAT.

If you’re anything like me, this stresses me tf out.

There are plenty of stations around, but this limitation will keep keep me constantly looking at the timer I set on my phone. I’m very schedule oriented so I'll just be on edge the whole time reconciling where the next station would be and how much time I would have to get it there.

Not a great vibe for actually enjoying my ride. Opposite actually. It could work if you have enough orbs of calm, but I definitely don’t.

I *kind of* understand why they do this though. They have to keep the bikes circulating, but 30 minutes?

Also: you can't lock up the bike anywhere else. A MoGo service worker says that if they see a bike secured anywhere else but at a docking station, they will cut the lock and take the bike.

No One-off / Hourly Tier

So if this was an actual option, I would really consider using this as part of my daily commute from Midtown to Downtown. Or at least add it into my “RV, get your ass to work” arsenal.

But nah bruh, it’s a minimum of $8. Tha yen and the pesos gur. You must be this tall to ride.

I *could* go for the monthly option, but like mentioned before, there's a lot of stresses that come with that. Especially for $18 a MONTH. That's almost two Netflix Subscriptions y'all.

It just don’t make sense to me y’all. The use cases significantly reduce without this option.

And also, if this WERE to exist (other cities and bike shares have it), it would need to rival the DDOT bus system and the QLine (not hard).

It’s gotta be competitive to the $1.50 ride, or at least close to it.

Also: Ann Arbor's Bike sharing program is cheaper and you can keep it for an hour so WHAT'S GOOD MOGO?

They don't seem to have a single use options either, but at least the price is closer to being worth it.

Better Alternatives: Uber / Lyft / Zipcar / Bus

To many places in Detroit, a minimum Uber/Lyft ride is around $7-8 within the City.

If you’re trying to get somewhere, it would actually be cheaper to hail a cab than it is to use MoGo and would cover many more situations for example having groceries, or anything more than one bag.

Sure you’ll still need a ride home and it would be another $7-8, but at this point I’m considering safety and situation.

Will you be in a good state of mind to be biking home?

Maybe you’re able to bike home, but are you willing?

Helmets *should* always be worn while biking, so are you gonna bring a helmet with you for the more risky night ride? Are the bikes even night ride ready and equipped with good lights? From what I'm observing, they're not the high beam lights that will help you avoid pot holes.

The alternatives just seem to be cheaper and cover more use cases.

Maybe this is out of scope of what MoGo was intended for, but if  you really need to get stuff done, even a $7-$8 per hour Zipcar rental may make more sense.


“RV, Stop Being A Hater”

First of all:

and second of all:

How Much IDGAF

Actual graph of how much I care nowadays

I know full well I’m sippin on that Haterade.

I’m scrutinizing this so intensely because I’m genuinely curious if this could actually get me to ditch my bike. This is how I process through things, I'm just writing them down. 

And beyond just me, who is this bike sharing program actually serving?

To me, it’s serving *fan fwop* “hyper-specific-niche-market” realness.

I’m not saying there’s no room for MoGo in the City. I’m glad other forms of transportation are popping up in Detroit. It's what will make the city more mobile and bike friendly. This is important to the growth of the place I love.

But at the end of the day, does their intention actually intersect with actual effect?

They are claiming it saves money and time. They say on their website "MoGo is for everyone," and that it's the first public bike sharing program in the Detroit.

Tesla Cars are also technically "for everyone" and also open to the public...to those who can afford it.

Of course, I acknowledge that takes money to make things happen. Everything costs something and nothing can free in our current system.

I'm just a bit hesitant to see things like this pop up especially when it seems like it's a company marketing itself on how it's serving the city's residents with their public assistance tier. At least Tesla car never claims to be anything but what it is: a luxury car.

If we're not vigilant, we could end up continuing to receive the same gradients of failure that push away the communities that make this city great.

All tea all shade: MoGo, this is...cute. You and your sister QLine are...cute.

Maybe I’m missing something? It would be unfair to put the weight of Detroit transportation all on one solution.

Is there a situation where this works for you that I missed? I honestly want to know I missed a lot.

*RuPaul voice*: Your bike sharing program claims to be for the people of Detroit–but MoGo seems to be a...NoGo.

Find Your True North:

  1. This is not a valuation of right or wrong–just think about it: Do you think as deeply as I just did about price structure and life implications? If you do, why do you care and if you don't, why don't you care?
  2. Maybe idea of owning a bike sounds terrible to you. Maybe MoGo makes sense. Life is how you want to design it, and sometimes things work for you that don't for a majority of people. That's okay. There's room for that.
  3. Transportation takes up a large person of someone's monthly spending. Is there a way for you to reduce spending in this area?