Metro To Vote On Bike-Share Contract With Vendor Bicycle Transit Systems

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter rides Indego bike-share. Image via Streetfilms
Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter riding Indego bike-share. Image via Streetfilms

At its June 25 monthly meeting, the Metro Board will be voting on the contract for the initial phase of what is now optimistically called “Metro Countywide Bikeshare.”

SBLA previewed the regional bike-share system in this earlier post. The initial phase is planned to include 1000+ bicycles at 60+ docking stations in downtown Los Angeles, expected to be operational in early 2016.

According to the recently posted board agenda look-ahead [PDF], Metro has selected bike-share vendor Bicycle Transit Systems. The $11.8 million contract is “contingent upon the execution of an MOU between the City of Los Angeles and Metro” and “future phases will be brought back …for Board approval contingent upon successful completion and operation of the Phase 1 Pilot.”

Bicycle Transit Systems is a somewhat new presence in the bike-share industry, though captained by experienced leadership. The company is based in Philadelphia and headed by former Alta Bike Share CEO Alison Cohen, who led NYC CitiBike during its rocky start-up. To date, the company’s big bike-share implementation success has been Philadelphia’s Indego, which launched in April 2015 with 600 bikes at 60 stations.

  • Dillin McFillin

    PREDICTION: vandalism, hit and run crimes and unnecessary complication for tourist use will destroy this program within 5 years.

  • Bob

    yeah the paris and ny systems all failed immediately and aren’t like “massive successes” good point there

  • Johnny

    Paris doesnt have a 50% hit and run crime rate on 40,000 reported crashes per year and a bunch of taggers and denigrates running around. New York is…. well maybe there is hope.

  • ranzchic

    Have you been living in a cave? We’ve had bikeshares open in DC, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Seattle, Miami, New York City and other various US cities. The problems you cited never materialized or doesn’t exist.

    Your post, frankjly, is [expletive deleted].

  • Obvious

    In like 20 years a large part of the population will be riding bike shares to and from work. It will be a part of a lot of peoples daily commute like walking. The annual passes they sell for these systems is great I think the NYC annual is like 90 bucks.

  • DTLA has abysmal bike infrastructure and there isn’t even decent bike parking at any Metro station or stop anywhere in the area. Why are they wasting money on bike share instead of addressing those problems first?

  • ubrayj02

    DAMN STRAIGHT and THANK YOU FOR SAYING IT.

    How can you have bike share work if your flagship projects all fly the foam middle finger at anyone on a bike?

    I rode out of Union Station to NELA yesterday and it SUCKED. Metro’s funded a bulb out on Broadway north of Chinatown that makes the street into more of a meat grinder for cyclists. Let’s not even discuss how terrible and nightmarish riding around Union Station is. And bike parking? At Union Station? Yeah right. Only if you enjoy donating your bike to the crack head get-high-tonight fund. Uncovered, unpoliced, and not worth considering as an actual amenity.

  • ubrayj02

    Totally wrong, but that’s okay, you don’t vote here anyway.

  • Joe Linton

    DTLA isn’t Copenhagen, but I think it has the best bike infrastructure in L.A. City (and it’s getting better with MyFig, 7th Street, Union Station projects on the way.) Union Station has very good bike parking at Metro HQ, and a bike parking hub funded and coming soon on the Alameda side.

    I think it’s important not to load up bike-share with other difficult stuff. I think that statements like “we shouldn’t have bike-share until we have world-class bike infrastructure” are likely to lead to no bike-share and no world-class bike infrastructure. Bike-share can increase ridership, which can produce a virtuous circle, leading to better infrastructure.

    Don’t give agencies and elected officials any additional reasons to not do something for bikes.

  • ranzchic

    It’s a chicken and egg thing. There is horrible bike infrastructure because there are no people on bikes. Both go hand and hand and both tends to lift the other. Bike share has been know to increase bicycling rates quite dramatically. Of course, you also need accompanying infrastructure for that, and so on.

    It’s not ideal but at least they are trying something. The defeatist attitude of ‘why even build it…’ will just ensure nothing gets done at all, guaranteed.

    (The egg came first, btw)

  • CalRobert

    So Angelenos are shit – got it. You should fit right in.

  • That DTLA has the best infrastructure is exactly my point. Forget Copenhagen, calling DTLA infrastructure even German-level would be being generous at the moment. There are so many other opportunities just in DTLA for projects that would better serve people on bikes that it isn’t even funny.

    I’ll believe you on the bike parking at LAUS, but this is another proof of my point. I’ve never seen it nor have I ever seen anything in the station building or the area around it giving any hint of its existence. Signage to it is a lot cheaper than a bike share system. Also, in scanning through the station area specific plan that they’re working on, I’ve seen nothing to suggest that Metro is fixing that problem nor planning to put in a better facility. Even something along the lines of the run-of-the-mill Delft station parking CityLab recently gushed over would be a massive step up. Ditto for other projects such as the Willowbrook Station maintenance on the Blue/Green Lines, which is also in an area that is a hotbed of people biking to and from the train. Will quality bike parking be added by that project? Is Metro adding high-quality bike parking at any station in their system at all in the near future? Has Metro added bike parking opportunities along their bus lines?

    Then, speaking of where people are already biking, that’s another great reason why Metro should hold off on the bike share. Metro isn’t just for DTLA, they cover the entire County of Los Angeles. Bike dollars aren’t exactly a gushing fountain (yet), $11mn can build a lot of Rosemead Boulevards–or the majority portion of the Slauson project. Which is in an area where scores of people can be regularly seen biking (usually on the sidewalks). I can certainly understand that DTLA feels anxious and left out of the bike share brigade since even Riverside is working on one. But that’s because decades of bad decisions have led to this point. If DTLA wants bike share, then a DTLA special district needs to fund it, or at worst, LADOT. Not Metro, at least not to the tune of $11mn.

    That of course also brings us to the equity issue which has spawned dozens of articles. Knowing how inequitable the systems are and how limited bike dollars are, I’m having a hard time understanding how encouraging Metro to throw this much at a system that will be inaccessible to those who stand to benefit the most is a step forward, especially since those communities are already biking more than the general population. If numbers are what should drive infrastructure choices, projects like the Slauson Rail to River should get special attention and the lion’s share of this $11mn. That area is already crawling with people on bikes, despite the infrastructure.

    On to the infrastructure projects. Reseda turned out alright, they did pretty good with what they had. However, LA is still very new at all this and after seeing Hyperion, I’m lowering my expectations of MyFig, which unfortunately weren’t high to begin with. I’ve also noticed that even the MyFig and 7th St. projects have an equity issue as they both stop far short of the most disadvantaged communities. MyFig could be truly transformational if it were to continue all the way to the Slauson Rail to River and beyond. Those are the kinds of projects that Metro should be working on, which are also projects that will not just attract new riders, but also benefit a lot of people who are already out pedaling.

  • I’m far from a defeatist, I’m ready to move forward. Clear models of best practice exist, including for bike share, but LA Metro isn’t ready for bike share. Cars didn’t get popular because of Zipcar, they gained prominence because the car lobby convinced the government to build roads. Similarly, if Metro is actually interested in growing ridership, they should really focus on other things such as real projects. There actually already are a lot of people on bikes and they’ve been there for years, but they’re frequently ignored because they’re not “commuting”. A great first step would be to stop pretending that they don’t exist and start building based on that knowledge. Infrastructure is also very good at getting more people riding, so it wouldn’t be wasted.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Well, I wouldn’t say that “there are no people on bikes”, but I understand your general point. There definitely ought to be many more people riding bikes. While I’m sure this bikeshare won’t be a silver bullet, it’s another way to (slowly) bring casual cycling more into LA’s popular consciousness. And I’m all for that.

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