Is Long Beach Looking to Roll Towards Bike Share without Bike Nation?
As Los Angeles quietly (but directly) abandons Bike Nation and Santa Monica pirouettes past both cities to pave the way for its city-wide bike share program, one can’t help but ask Long Beach: Are we continuing to go forward with a company which largely ignores the media, lacks a fulfillment of promises, and ultimately seems to wear a name tag it put on itself instead of earning?
The answer is… Maybe?
According to Andrew Veis of Supervisor Don Knabe’s office—Knabe, it should be noted, also sponsored the motion in encouraging MTA to find a viable bike share partner—it’s all up in the air.
“At this time it’s too early to tell what the implications of a bike share program are for Long Beach,” Veis said. “The motion you refer to was calling for Metro to look at the feasibility of a bike share program to connect Metro stations. It is still too early to know what kind of connection this would have with Mayor Garcetti’s plans for a City of Los Angeles bike share program.”
Or maybe the answer is… Yeah, Bike Nation is the bike share guy for Long Beach.
It should be noted that Long Beach doesn’t face the advertising revenue issues that Bike Nation faces with Los Angeles, which perhaps explains Long Beach Deputy City Manager Tom Modica’s acknowledgement.
“In Long Beach, we want to move forward,” Modica said, “so we are continuing to work with Bike Nation through our no-cost agreement as they roll their program out. If there were a Countywide Bike Share program as proposed below, we would be interested in discussing with Metro to see how Long Beach could benefit and perhaps supplement what Bike Nation rolls out. To this point there has been lots of discussion about regional bike sharing programs, but none actually moving forward.”
According to Modica, Long Beach’s contract with Bike Nation requires that the company create and operate a bike share program at no cost to the City—including grant funds.
This last point is essential: some have believed that the $2.3M Metro grant handed to Long Beach for a bike share program would be used to fund Bike Nation’s efforts. The caveat is that, before any grant funds could be used, a bike share program of at least 250 bikes throughout the city must be implemented first. In other words, the grant money is contingent on Bike Nation rolling out their program firstly.
And even after that, all the monies used to further their program via the Metro grant isn’t necessarily given directly to them, since the City would own any bikes and equipment purchased with the grant money.
“The City cannot use the grant funds to support Bike Nation’s rollout of their program,” Modica said. “After that program is established, the City can utilize the $2.3 million Metro grant and $500,000 match from the City to enhance the program… It has not yet been determined how those funds would be spent since the rollout of the bike sharing program has to come first.”
Now that we got that out of the way: when is this so-called rollout going to happen again?