Bike Sharing Program
Bike Sharing has arrived in the Bay Area
The San Mateo County Transit District is participating in a first-of-its-kind regional pilot bike-sharing program. Bay Area Bike Share is a self-service system that provides members with easy access to a network of bicycles. At full build out, there will be 700 bicycles at 70 kiosk stations along the Peninsula corridor in San Francisco, Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Jose. Members can check out a bike close to home or work and return it to any of the kiosk stations.
This pilot program promotes bicycles as a first- and last-mile transportation alternative for commuters and residents taking all forms of transit. Increased bicycling reduces driving trips and greenhouse gas emissions and improves local air quality. In the Bay Area, the transportation sector accounts for more than 50 percent of air pollution. Significant emission reductions from the transportation sector helps the Bay Area attain and maintain state and national air quality standards and reduce greenhouse gases.
How Bike Share Works
Similar to car sharing, bicycle sharing is a membership-based system for short-term bicycle rental. Members can check a bicycle out from a network of bike kiosks, ride to their destination, and return the bicycle to another nearby kiosk in the system. Kiosks are located at key destinations (transit hubs, shopping centers, employment areas, parks, and community centers) within the cities participating in the program. Bicycle sharing is enjoying a global explosion in growth with the use of comfortable commuter bicycles and user-friendly technologies. Members can join for daily, 3-day and annual rates; and can become a member on-line or at a kiosk using a credit/debit card. Members are entitled to unlimited rides of up to 30 minutes during their membership period. An additional charge is applied to rides longer than 30 minutes.
This regional pilot program, led by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, is funded through a combination of local, regional and federal grants. Major funding comes from a $4.3 million grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Innovative Bay Area Climate Initiatives Program. The total program cost is about $7 million, which includes a local match of $80,000 from the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, and $25,000 from the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County. Sponsorship opportunities are available now.
Program partners include San Mateo County Transit District, the City of Redwood City, the County of San Mateo, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.
The service launched on August 29, 2013. The pilot program will run for at least 12 months. The program will then be evaluated to determine whether it should be continued and can be economically sustainable, whether through operating income, sponsorships, continued grant funding, or some other mechanism. The goal is to continue and expand the Bay Area Bike Share program following the pilot period.
What other North American cities have Bike Sharing programs?
Several cities in the U.S. and Canada are operating bike share programs. Click on the cities to find out about their programs.
8/28/13 - rjc/dk
Photo credit: Bay Area Bike Share