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Posts from the Bike Sharing Category

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Metro Bike Share’s 2017 Expansion Plans: Pasadena, Venice, Port of L.A.

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Metro is poised to approve a $42 million expansion of Metro Bike Share in 2017. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

On Wednesday, the Metro Planning and Programming Committee approved funding to expand Metro Bike Share in 2017. Operated by Bicycle Transit Systems, Metro Bike Share opened in downtown L.A. in July. In 2017, Metro would expand bike-share to new service areas in Pasadena, Venice, San Pedro, and Wilmington.

If the bike-share expansion plan is approved by the Board next week, Metro will allocate $42 million to continue and to expand bicycling in L.A. County. Any expansion of bike-share is welcome. Unfortunately, some of the new locations raise questions as to whether expansion plans are more political than strategic, and more focused on tourists than on local riders.

Bike-share mobility is optimized when docks are located in a contiguous area where one can ride a bike to numerous other docks. Compared to disconnected islands, larger service area “blobs” present exponentially more destinations. Larger areas are also less costly to operate and maintain. In the words of NYCDOT bike-share architect Jon Orcutt:

Plans to launch bike-share systems in separate geographical areas or nodes are almost certainly a recipe for low usage.

Small bike-share systems are generally low performers. Breaking a finite amount of bike share resources into smaller pieces needlessly sacrifices the utility and productivity of stations/bicycles.

Watch Orcutt’s explainer video for a good visualization of these points.

A NACTO report found lower-performing bike-share systems in cities with more spread-out systems. Many cities bow to political pressure to spread stations over a wide geographic area in order to accommodate various constituencies. Metro is poised to make this common mistake.

Metro’s initial bike-share pilot was planned for downtown L.A. then Pasadena. After Pasadena, the plans were more tentative, with possible expansion in numerous areas pending further study. Locations designated for further study included Koreatown, MacArthur Park, Echo Park, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Venice, Marina Del Rey, North Hollywood, Huntington Park, and East Los Angeles. The Port area did not make the initial study list.

Expansion is not entirely up to Metro. Metro’s policy mandates cost share arrangements with local jurisdictions, so, to a large extent, expansion follows funding. This is especially true for planned expansion to the Port of Los Angeles locations in San Pedro and Wilmington.

According to testimony from Metro Deputy Executive Officer for Active Transportation Laura Cornejo, the Port system would primarily cater to tourists. Metro staff reported that other bike-share systems driven by tourist use are “quite profitable.” Cornejo stated that the Port was interested in implementing bike-share and was considering a “neighboring provider.” The provider went unnamed, but clearly it has to be CycleHop, which runs Long Beach Bike Share. The Port comes to the table with money. Up front, the Port and Metro would each pay $334,000 in initial capital costs for 120 bikes at 11 stations, tentatively seven in San Pedro and four in Wilmington. Subsequent ongoing operation costs are split with the Port paying 65 percent. Metro approved a conservative scenario for its share of the Port system capital costs plus six years operations for a grand total of $4.9 million.

These Port systems – with four and seven stations, and very little in the way of transit connections – could see very little usage. Bike-share systems in the Orange County cities of Fullerton and Anaheim failed with eleven and three stations, respectively. Cornejo characterized the Port of L.A. system as an “interesting pilot.” Time will tell if it turns out to be nearly $5 million in limited Metro bike-share funding well spent.

The Pasadena and Venice systems are more fully-featured and more likely to be successful.  Read more…

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CycleHop Plans for Regional System for All Their SoCal Bike Shares

Santa Monica’s bike share program uses a smart bike technology that allows users to unlock a bike by entering account information into a keypad at the back of the bike. Images by Saul Rubin

Santa Monica’s bike share program uses a smart bike technology that allows users to unlock a bike by entering account information into a keypad at the back of the bike. Images by Saul Rubin

Santa Monica’s launch of its bike sharing program last year did more than just provide an environmentally friendly way to get around the city. It set in motion a shift in thinking throughout the Los Angeles region as many other communities followed Santa Monica’s lead and added their own public bike rental programs.

The new challenge is merging all these community programs into one integrated system, bike share proponents say. Riders could then seamlessly travel between cities and communities without being confused by conflicting regulations or charged extra fees for leaving bikes too far from their home stations.

Under current rules, for example, if users rent a bike in Santa Monica and drop it off in West Hollywood, they are charged a penalty fee for returning the bike to an area out of Santa Monica’s hub.

The distinctive bright green bikes of Santa Monica’s bike share program are ready for use at a rental station on Ocean Park Boulevard. Santa Monica’s program s offers 500 bicycles located at 85 different locations throughout the city and Venice.

The distinctive bright green bikes of Santa Monica’s bike share program are ready for use at a rental station on Ocean Park Boulevard. Santa Monica’s program s offers 500 bicycles located at 85 different locations throughout the city and Venice.

An integrated system that would eliminate those fees isn’t just a bike share pipe dream. It’s a plan “far along” in development, according to Ron Durgin, Southern California Regional Manager for CycleHop, a national bike share operator. “The challenge going forward is if the technology can deliver on what everyone thinks is the best solution.”

Durgin said the regional plan would involve community bike share programs operated by CycleHop, including Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Long Beach and UCLA.

CycleHop is reaching out to Culver City, which appears poised to begin its own bike share program, as well as South Bay cities, hoping to bring them into its fold. A South Bay network would be important for CycleHop, as the company would then claim a coastal network of bike sharing programs stretching from Santa Monica to Long Beach.

Kyle Kozar, coordinator of Santa Monica’s Breeze Bike Share program, said a regional system might be in place early next year.

One challenge to a broad bike-sharing network across cities throughout Los Angeles is that two competing technologies are being used.

CycleHop uses smart bikes in the cities where it operates. Bike share users create an account and passcode and then unlock available bikes by entering their information in a keypad located at the back of the bike.

But a bike share program begun this summer by the Metropolitan Transit Authority in Downtown Los Angeles uses an entirely different system. Riders have to return bikes and lock them at designated docking stations. Metro has plans to expand the program into Pasadena and the San Fernando Valley.

Back in Santa Monica, the first city in Los Angeles County to offer a public bike sharing, the city’s program is still growing in popularity.

The city’s program is sponsored by Hulu, which has a five-year agreement to feature its logo on the city’s fleet of bright green bikes for an annual fee of $675,000.

Santa Monica has 500 available bikes located at 80 locations throughout the city, and five more rental hubs in Venice.  Under Santa Monica’s plan users sign up for monthly or annual memberships that entitle them to 90 minutes of riding a day.There is also a pay-as-you-go option that costs $7 an hour.

Several Santa Monica communities that at first resisted the idea of a bike share station are now requesting one, according to Kozar.

“People were skeptical at first. Now that we are coming up on the first year, they are more used to it,” said Kozar. “Hopefully there is room for expansion. That’s something that has to be looked at.”

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Plan Calls for Car-Share, Bike-Share, Ride-Hail to Reduce Cars in L.A. County

Cover of Los Angeles County Shared Mobility Action Plan [PDF]

Cover of Los Angeles County Shared Mobility Action Plan [PDF]

This week the non-profit Shared-Use Mobility Center released its blueprint for the future of Southern California. The Los Angeles County Shared Mobility Action Plan [PDF] outlines a future for L.A. County with expanded transit, car-share, bike-share, ride-hailing, mobility hubs, and more. The plan predicts that all this will lead to 2 percent less driving, meaning roughly 100,000 fewer private cars on L.A. streets in five years.

The new plan is more a vision than an adopted city plan, with no public agency imprimatur or funding behind it. Nonetheless, the plan lays out a series of recommendations, emphasizing expansion of shared mobility.

The vision is a compelling one: significant increases in transit ridership (34,000 new riders), bike-share (10,000 new bike-share bikes), car-share (8,400 new car-share vehicles) and carpooling/ride-splitting (16,800 new riders.) In order to achieve these increases, the plan prescribes relatively modestly increased funding for government agency programs: $16 million for car-share, $33-38 million for bike-share, $4-6 million for augmenting ride-hail, and $6-10 million for mobility hubs. These all complementing Measure M and existing funding streams for transit, active transportation, and the like.

After the jump, find bullet summaries of the key plan policies and programs, many of which building on existing efforts already underway. Read more…

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West Hollywood Officially Launches WeHo Pedals, Region’s Newest Bike-Share

WeHo Pedals system map

WeHo Pedals system map

Yesterday at noon, the City of West Hollywood officially launched WeHo Pedals, the fourth bike-share system in the region operated by CycleHop. WeHo Pedals has 150 bicycles at seventeen stations throughout West Hollywood with rates ranging from $7 an hour to a yearly pass at $99. There is currently a discount for the yearly pass, $69 until September 6. For more information, visit the official website.

“We are so excited to offer bike-share to the West Hollywood community as well as to visitors,” said West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister in a press statement.

“WeHo Pedals will be a fun and easy way to explore our city, to run quick errands, or to grab a bite without having to get in the car. And, with WeHo Pedals, you won’t have to worry about finding a parking spot once you reach your destination.”

Yesterday’s launch followed a “soft launch” of four stations earlier this month.

WeHo Pedals is operated by CycleHop, the same vendor that runs systems in Santa Monica (including Venice stations coming this month), Long Beach, Beverly Hills, and, coming soon, UCLA.

The bikes are “smart bikes” meaning that the electronics are located on the bike itself, not the dock. Bikes can be locked up at designated docks, or at other locations within the service area. The system coverage area overlaps with neighboring Beverly Hills, so cyclists can pick up a bike in WeHo and leave it in Beverly Hills.

Yesterday’s launch was extensively covered by the local media. Read more on the launch at WeHoVille, ABC7, and KPCC.

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The Future of Bike-Share: An Interview with NABSA’s Matt Martin

Matt Martin

Matt Martin

Matt Martin is the Project Manager for the North American Bikeshare Association and the Director of Rosewood Bikes, a nonprofit program bringing bike resources to a poorly served area of Portland, Oregon. Prior to NABSA, Matt led the Community Bike Project Omaha, an Omaha nonprofit focused on transportation equity issues, where he helped bring bike-share to Omaha and served as Omaha B-cycle’s bike-share Managing Director. 

The interview took place over email earlier this month.

Streetsblog L.A.: Tell us a little about your background. How did you come to the North American Bike Share Association?

I got into focusing on transportation policy expanding opportunities for bicycling in 2008, after a career of working in international security issues, as the perspective of my interests turned from global to local. While directing the Community Bike Project Omaha, I teamed together with a local health advocacy organization to create Omaha B-cycle and bring bike-sharing to Omaha. As a result of that, I met more of the national bike-share community. When NABSA reached out to me in 2015, I was happy to come aboard.

What is the North American Bikeshare Association? What do you do?

The North American Bikeshare Association (NABSA) exists to further bike-share and to support its members in North America and beyond. We host an annual conference that brings together bike-share system operators, local officials, vendors, and people seeking to learn about bike-sharing to share best practices, learn about new innovations, and gain insights on international trends.

We provide a range of services for our members – including expert webinars; a repository of guides, RFPs, contracts, and other documents; an internal discussion group; and daily support for the immediate questions and issues that can arise when planning or operating a bike-share system.

What is exciting about bike-shake? Explain some examples of the benefits that bike-share cities are seeing.

Whatever your usual way of getting around, bike-share can offer a convenient, green, inexpensive, and healthy option. Bike-share provides an alternative to single-occupancy vehicles and the problems they create for both the user and the city—cost, parking, and congestion. We’ve also seen them act as an alternative to public transit—when trains are offline for maintenance, those users can and do switch to bike-share.

Bike-share is often a “last mile” solution, used as part of a mix with other transportation modes. Users drive or ride transit in from the suburbs and use bike-share to complete their journey from the parking garage or bus stop. Even bicyclists can benefit, as bike-sharing eliminates the concerns over private bike maintenance and theft, when leaving a personal bike locked up outside.

Beyond these direct benefits, cities have enjoyed other urban planning benefits as well. As cities redesign their urban landscapes to encourage bike-share and active transportation, we have seen a virtual explosion of new pedestrian plazas, greenways, and urban renewal that has not only made our cities more efficient, but more beautiful as well.  Read more…

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Venice Opens First Official Breeze Bike Share Hub

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Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez (left) and L.A. Councilmember Mike Bonin (right) install the first physical Breeze Bike Share station in Venice. Photos courtesy of Councilmember Bonin’s office.

Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Bonin joined Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez early Monday morning to officially install the first of five Breeze Bike Share hubs in Venice.

The new station, which is located at 5th Street and Rose, is the first physical station of Santa Monica’s 500-bike, 80-station Breeze Bike Share system in the city of Los Angeles, though Breeze riders have been able to drop bikes off at virtual hubs for several months now.

“The best way to reduce traffic is to make it easier to get around without a car, and these five new bike-share stations will connect communities on the Westside with convenient access to Breeze bikes.” said Bonin.

Celebrating the opening of the 5th Street and Rose Breeze Bike Share station in Venice.

Celebrating the opening of the 5th Street and Rose Breeze Bike Share station in Venice.

“While Metro’s bike-share program won’t reach Venice until Spring of next year, I am thrilled that our partnership with Santa Monica lets our side of town get access to bike share months before Metro’s program reaches the Westside. This is an exciting day for Venice and the people who love this neighborhood,” he said.

Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez said, “Expanding Breeze Bike stations into Venice will take riders farther and reduce car trips. More stations adds to the convenience of the system and will get more people onto two wheels.”

The station at 5th and Rose is the first of five physical Breeze Bike Share stations that will be installed in Venice.

According to Bonin’s Facebook page, the other stations will be located at Rose/Ocean Front Walk (on the boardwalk across from Venice Ale House), Ocean Front Walk/Park Ave (two stations, one on the boardwalk and one on the walk street), California/Abbot Kinney (in the street), and Venice/Abbot Kinney (southeast corner, adjacent to the palm trees).

The new stations are the most recent visible indication that bike-share is going region wide.  Read more…

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Eyes on the Street: West Hollywood’s Got Bike-Share

West Hollywood's new bike-share system opened yesterday. Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

West Hollywood’s new bike-share system opened yesterday. Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The full system launch is not until August 30, but the city of West Hollywood soft-launched its bike-share system yesterday. WeHo Pedals now has dozens of bicycles available at four initial stations. Introductory annual memberships are just $69.

WeHo Pedals is operated by CycleHop, the same vendor that runs systems in Santa Monica (including Venice stations coming this month), Long Beach, Beverly Hills, and, coming soon, UCLA. The bikes are “smart bikes” meaning that the electronics are located on the bike itself, not the dock. Bikes can be locked up at designated docks, or at other locations within the service area. The system coverage area overlaps with neighboring Beverly Hills, so cyclists can pick up a bike in WeHo and leave it in Beverly Hills.

WeHo Pedals system map

WeHo Pedals system map – red dots are initial stations open now. Image via WeHo Pedals [PDF]

Nearly all of the bike-share stations are along Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood’s central spine. The four stations currently available are:

  • West Hollywood City Hall, 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard
  • West Hollywood Park, 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard
  • Santa Monica Boulevard at N. Crescent Heights Boulevard
  • Santa Monica Boulevard between Holloway Drive and N. Olive Drive

Get all the fabulous details at WeHo Pedals website. More photos from yesterday’s launch after the jump.  Read more…

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Santa Monica’s Breeze Bike Share Nears 30,000 Active Users

Councilmembers Kevin McKeown, Ted Winterer, and Gleam Davis join Assemblymember Richard Bloom to cut the ribbon in November, officially opening the Breeze Bike Share system to the public. Photo via city of Santa Monica.

Councilmembers Kevin McKeown, Ted Winterer, Tony Vaquez. and Gleam Davis join Assemblymember Richard Bloom, community activists, and city staff to cut the ribbon in November, officially opening the Breeze Bike Share system to the public. Photo via city of Santa Monica.

Eight months after Santa Monica launched the first public bike-share program in L.A. County, the system is working.

According to a report delivered to the City Council Tuesday night, Breeze Bike Share is nearing 30,000 “active subscribers” and has been used for roughly 170,000 trips since the system launched in November.

“[Breeze Bike Share is a] key component of our overall mobility strategy for the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce vehicle trips, to improve mobility options for all residents, employees, and visitors to Santa Monica and to really serve as a last mile-first mile connection to the Expo line and other transportation options here in the city,” Kyle Kozar, Santa Monica’s bike-share coordinator, told the Council Tuesday night.

He noted that the first year of the system’s operation would help establish a baseline going forward.

Kozar noted that Santa Monica residents “ride bike-share more than any other geographic group.”

From Kozar's report Tuesday, a graph showing the breakdown of Breeze users according to area of residence.

From Kozar’s report Tuesday, a graph showing the breakdown of Breeze users according to area of residence.

Currently, Santa Monica residents make up 18 percent of the system’s subscribers, but they account for almost half (44 percent) of the trips made.

Users coming from other parts of L.A. County make up a little more than a third (34 percent) of subscribers and account for 23 percent of the trips taken while visitors from outside of L.A. County make up 47 percent of the subscribers and take 33 percent of the trips.

Councilmember Kevin McKeown saw this as a sign of success since he believed it demonstrated that people in Santa Monica who may not have ridden before have begun riding bikes as a result of bike-share.

And there are plans to make the system more accessible to the city’s lower-income residents.

McKeown announced that the city and Breeze will be partnering with Community Corporation of Santa Monica, the city’s single largest provider of affordable housing, to offer a special $60/year membership for residents of CCSM buildings and a program that would let them seek up to 90 percent reimbursement.

Breeze Bike Share is restructuring its fee schedule starting on August 1, which will have the effect of making the system overall less expensive for those who have monthly or annual plans.

Screenshot 2016-07-27 at 2.22.59 PMThe current price menu has two tiers of plans: basic and premium. A basic plan, which costs $20 a month, $119 a year for nonresidents, or $79 a year for residents, includes 30 minutes a day of ride time. A premium plan, which costs $25 a month, $149 a year for nonresidents, and $99 a year for residents, includes 60 minutes of ride time. The student plan currently costs $47 for a sixth-month term and also includes 60 minutes of ride time. The pay-as-you-go rate is currently $6 an hour.

The new pricing structure, which was approved by the City Council on June 14, replaces those with four pricing options: $99 a year, $25 a month, $7 a month for students, or $7 an hour for pay-as-you-go users. The annual and monthly passes include 90 minutes of ride time and the student membership no longer needs to be bought for a six-month period at a time.

The changes reflect overall price reductions for all but the pay-as-you-go, which will see an increase of a $1 an hour.

According to Kozar’s report, overwhelmingly users opt for the pay-as-you-go option, whether they are from out of town or locals.  Read more…

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Bike-Share Updates: DTLA, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and California

It has been a week since Metro Bike Share opened in downtown Los Angeles. The system is currently open only to members, who must pre-register online. So I figured it’s time to take a ride and assess how bike-share is doing in various incarnations around the L.A. basin, including West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and downtown Los Angeles.

West Hollywood councilmember Linsey Horvath demonstrates a WeHo Pedals bike. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Councilmember Lindsey Horvath (right) demonstrates a WeHo Pedals bike. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

West Hollywood – WeHo Pedals

WeHo Pedals, the city of West Hollywood’s smart-bike bike-share system, is set to soft launch on Tuesday, August 9. The initial phase will be a pilot with just four stations:

  • West Hollywood City Hall, 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard
  • West Hollywood Park, 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard
  • Santa Monica Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Formosa Avenue at N. Crescent Heights Boulevard (location updated per WeHo)
  • Santa Monica Boulevard between Holloway Drive and N. Olive Drive

The city of West Hollywood will host a community preview event on August 9 from noon to 2 p.m. at West Hollywood City Hall.

The full system, tentatively set to launch with a ribbon-cutting on August 30, will feature 150 bikes, twenty bike-share stations, and a supporting website and app. Docking stations are less critical for smart-bike systems, as bikes can be locked up and retrieved anywhere inside system boundaries.

WeHo Pedals will be operated by CycleHop, the same vendor as Santa Monica’s Breeze, Beverly Hills Bike Share, Long Beach Bike Share, and a planned UCLA bike-share system due this fall. If all goes well, the Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and UCLA systems will be seamlessly integrated under the banner of a “Westside Regional Bike Share” program.

The WeHo Pedals website is not live yet, but for more information see the city’s bike-share page.

Santa Monica – Breeze

Santa Monica’s Breeze bike-share recently approved a new simplified pricing structure which takes effect August 1. It is not a radical departure from previous rates, but monthly and annual members get a bit more bike for their buck. The changes also make student passes easier and hourly passes a little more expensive. Overall the new pricing seems to support more everyday use for people who spend a lot of time in Santa Monica.

I would like to see more in the way of unlimited rides, similar to a gym membership, a bus pass, or for that matter a freeway. Unlimited duration riding is available in many cities. It encourages more bicycling, but it is perhaps hard on the fiscal bottom line for bike-share providers. Hopefully these systems are socking away bundles of cash that they can use to expand geographically, which would probably be even better than expanding temporally.

Details on the new Breeze pricing at Santa Monica Next.

Downtown L.A. – Metro Bike Share

It’s still very early, but I’ve been seeing lots of Metro Bike Share bikes at docks, but relatively few people riding bike-share on downtown streets. In fact, I have yet to see another person riding one of these bikes since last Thursday’s opening kickoff, but I am not downtown every day. When I’ve ridden Metro Bike Share, pedestrians and drivers have been curious and asked me about how to “rent” bikes. Read more…

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Metro Bike Share Kicks-Off, System Open In Downtown L.A.

Metro board chair John Fasana celebrates the arrival of Metro Bike Share. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Metro board chair John Fasana celebrates the arrival of Metro Bike Share. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

This morning a crowd of over a thousand people gathered to celebrate the opening of Los Angeles’ newest transportation system: Metro Bike Share. The system’s opening festivities took place at Grand Park. It featured music, speakers, and a ceremonial ride where cyclists rode bike-share bikes to distribute them to stations throughout downtown L.A.

The Metro Bike Share system includes just over a thousand bikes at about 65 docking stations throughout downtown Los Angeles, from Union Station to the Arts District to Staples Center to L.A. Trade Tech College to Chinatown. View a dynamic map of the system here or find it on the Metro Bike Share app.

Right now through the end of July, the system is open to members only. To become a member sign-up online at Metro Bike Share. As of August 1, the system will be fully open to preregistered members and walk-ups.

Photos of today’s kick-off follow after the jump.  Read more…