The Long Beach City Council, in a 9-0 vote, will permit Bike Nation to launch a 10-year, $12 million bike share program in the city, thereby creating one of the largest of its kind in the state.
Bike Nation, which manufactures its own GPS-equipped, airless-tires bicycles, was inspired by similar systems that developed in Europe, such as the successful DublinBikes in Ireland and Bicing in Barcelona. “Our business philosophy is that our bike share systems become part of the overall transportation fabric,” stated Jeff Pomeroy of Bike Nation. “It’s to provide our customers with a healthier way to experience their community; one without being encapsulated in an automobile.”
In addition to Bike Nation programs in Anaheim, Downtown Los Angeles, Westwood, Hollywood, and areas throughout Venice Beach, Long Beach will join the ranks as one of the largest with 250 kiosks that will allow citizens to access some 2,500 bikes throughout the city beginning Downtown in February of next year. With a Bike Nation membership, one can access bicycles in any city that has Bike Nation kiosks. In other words, a member ship purchased in Long Beach will work in Los Angeles or Anaheim or anywhere else Bike Nation opens shop.
Unlike some other cities, Long Beach’s Bike Nation program will be entirely paid for by the company, which has been working with the city since 2009. For Bike Nation, Long Beach had four essential components: quality bike infrastructure, community support for bicycling, a bike-able climate, and commitment from the city’s officials and staff.
“The City of Long Beach has long been considered a leader in investment in bike infrastructure, creating safer roads for its riders and cleaner air for its residents,” said Derek Fretheim, Bike Nation Chief Operating Officer, in a statement released to the press. “Bike Nation is proud to provide Long Beach residents and visitors alike with a low-cost, healthy time-friendly transportation option that will be connective to the City of Los Angeles and Anaheim systems.”
The program’s growing popularity is two-fold, given the overall nation’s interest in not only promoting healthier habits, but also those within the urban landscape frustrated by being trapped in their car.
Following registration with Bike Nation, users can access any of the solar powered kiosks so that, instead of dealing with traffic, one can hop on a bike and get to where they need to go. To incentivize users, the first 30 minutes are always free when a 24-hour membership is purchased for $6, with small decreases in costs with more day purchases: three-day ($12), weekly ($25), monthly ($35), yearly ($75) and yearly student/senior rentals ($50).
Bike Nation’s plans with Long Beach are nothing short of expansion: “Our goal is to make Long Beach the bike share model for other cities,” says Pomeroy.
Following the initial kiosks being installed downtown, other neighborhoods throughout Long Beach.