Bike-Share Has Arrived: Santa Monica Breeze Opens!

Santa Monica's Breeze Bike-Share system opened earlier today. Photos by Joe Linton
Santa Monica’s Breeze Bike-Share system opened earlier today. Photos by Joe Linton

The first public bike-share system in Los Angeles County opened today to much fanfare. Santa Monica’s Breeze bike-share features 500 bicycles at 75 stations throughout the city of Santa Monica, plus four in adjacent Venice. The system is run by CycleHop under a contract with the city of Santa Monica. System start-up funding came from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Metro, and Caltrans, plus an annual $675,000 sponsorship for at least five years from the Santa Monica-based entertainment company Hulu. Bicycles are available for rent hourly, monthly, or annually.

Breez bike-share rates - image via Breeze
Breeze bike-share rates – image via Breeze. They are currently offering a $99/year “founding member” rate, as well.

Enjoy the following photo tour of the first morning of L.A. County’s first bike-share system. 

This morning’s Breeze fleet in front of Santa Monica City Hall. The bikes feel just slightly lighter than the NYC Citi Bike ones that I’ve ridden, though they’re still heavy compared to an average road bike. They include a basket, bell, and eight speeds.
Santa Monica Mayor
Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown welcomes riders to Breeze bike-share
Mayor McKeown, Santa Monica Councilmembers Gleam Davis, Ted Winterer, and Tony Vazquez, Assemblymember Richard Bloom, and other luminaries cut the ceremonial Breeze bike-share ribbon
And they’re off! The inaugural bike ride was accompanied by the theme song from “Chariots of Fire”
More than a hundred early adopters – many of them “Hulu-gans” – took bikes for an inaugural short ride around Santa Monica City Hall.
How it works: Riders can sign up electronically, either on-line or via an app. Alternately, there are kiosks (10 kiosks spread throughout the city) where riders can walk up and use a credit card. I signed up at this kiosk on Ocean Avenue and Olympic Boulevard, next to Tongva Park. The entire process took about 2 minutes, including linking my account to my Metro TAP card. The system gives users a few options for access: you can just manually enter your 6-digit account number, you can “tap” your bike-share card (below), or you can use your linked Metro TAP card, with each of those accompanied by a PIN. (A note on TAP: the system uses one’s TAP card number only to identify the person accessing the bike. It does not interact with stored value on the card, or even credit card information linked to the card. The TAP holder must use a credit card to set up a Breeze account first, then link the TAP card to that account.)
Breeze member card (which I actually didn't use, favoring my TAP card)
What the Breeze membership card looks like (I didn’t actually use this, favoring my Metro TAP card instead).
Once my account was set up, I tapped my card on the sensor on the back of the bike to unlock it.
The Breeze system is what’s called a “smart bike” – all of the electronic systems are on-board the bike itself. The racks are very simple metal loops.
When I finished riding, I attached the bike to the dock, using the built-in U-lock.
Bicyclists riding Breeze in downtown Santa Monica.
Friend of the blog, Santa Monica Spoke’s Cynthia Rose, was pretty happy about the new system!
Kudos to city staff, elected officials, vendors, funders, sponsors, and community members who made today’s bike-share kick-off possible. Pictured are the city of Santa Monica’s Strategic and Transportation Manager Francie Stefan and Santa Monica Spoke’s Cynthia Rose.

Find out more about how you can use Breeze bike-share here.

In other bike-share news, next week Metro is expected to approve its proposed fare structure for its bike-share system debuting in downtown L.A. in mid-2016.

  • Los Angeles Bikes

    Is there a map of all the Breeze bike-share stations? Apparently there are four stations in Venice, but on the Breeze website they don’t seem to exist.

  • Serena Liu

    This is the map on the kiosk but I can’t confirm if the stations in Venice are operational yet (they aren’t appearing on the app map).

  • MaxUtil

    I see they’re using the traditional “North points to the bottom left” orientation for their maps. WTF?

  • Mike

    Yea… is this Santa Monica or Miami Beach

  • User_1

    Great move on Hulu’s part. That investment should pay off quite nicely.

    It’s great that you don’t need a helmet to check out the bikes.
    (yes, I do wear a helmet almost all the time)

  • Joe Linton

    Though the system is open for business, they’re still installing kiosks, etc. so these may be coming very soon. I’ll ask them via twitter and see what the response is.

  • Breeze Bike Share

    the City of Santa Monica is still working with City of Los Angeles on station installation details and permits to provide the Venice locations. Once the intergovernmental agreements are settled, Cyclehop is ready to install the stations.

    @MaxUtil:disqus – the maps are heads up orientation so the street alignment matches the direction you are facing, if you look at the flip side of this sign the map shows the Pacific Ocean on the left side and N arrow on top right corner.

  • Phantom Commuter

    Hasn’t been profitable anywhere. Most recent local failure was Fullerton.

  • Joe Linton

    Have highways been profitable anywhere in the U.S.? or buses? trains? sidewalks? If we collectively see bike-share as valuable (for mobility, health, economic, environmental benefits) then it’s worth some public funding going toward unprofitable transportation infrastructure.

  • Joe Linton

    Per Breeze twitter: @BreezeBikeShare: @StreetsblogLA None of the hubs in Venice have been installed yet. We’re hopeful that all 5 are installed by the end of the month.

  • Steve Williams

    I think HULU might consider it worthwhile advertising, having up to 500 bikes rolling around the city like moving billboards with “HULU” emblazoned on the bikes.

  • Stephenie L.

    I just joined Breeze Bike Share, and I love it! The bikes are so new and beautiful. When I first rode along the beach, I rented a rickety bike at the pier. These are so much nicer. People always comment when I ride by…One guy said, “I want one of those…” The baskets are roomy and well made, and the locks are excellent. I would ride every day if I could. I drive in from Santa Clarita to enjoy the beach and these bikes. At home I ride my second hand beach cruiser and take the bus. I much prefer these bikes because you don’t need a smartphone. (which I don’t have.) The customer service by phone is super helpful, too.


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