Metro Proposes Cutting Bike-Share Price in Half

Metro is looking at new cheaper pricing for bike-share. Photo: Joe Linton
Metro is looking at new cheaper pricing for bike-share. Photo: Joe Linton

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There are not a lot of details yet, but Metro has released a proposal to cut prices for Metro Bike Share. As alluded to by Councilmember Mike Bonin during a Transportation Committee meeting last month, the basic per-ride cost would be cut in half – from the $3.50 today to $1.75. The proposal would also encourage bike-transit trips by offering free transfers.

Proposed new Metro Bike Share fare structure. Image via Metro, via Twitter
Proposed new Metro Bike Share fare structure. Image via Twitter

The proposal was released via a presentation to Metro’s Westside Service Council, and then circulated via Twitter. Based on statements at T-Committee, the proposal is supposed to go to the Metro board at its May 24 monthly meeting. Before that, there should be more details via staff report for a committee hearing, probably the May 16 Metro Planning and Programming Committee.

Here are the proposed changes:

  • Single ride: currently $3.50, would drop to $1.75
  • Day Pass: not currently offered, would be $5 per day
  • Monthly Pass: currently $20, would drop to $17 ($5 for low income riders)
  • Annual Pass: not currently offered, would be $150 per year ($50 for low income riders)
  • Transfer: not currently offered, bike-share riders would get free transfer to any bus/rail trips that accept TAP (all Metro bus/rail and all L.A. County municipal bus)

For reference, below is the current pricing.

Metro's current bike-share fare strucutre. Image via Metro staff report
Metro’s current bike-share fares. Image via Metro

Metro smart-dock bike-share is facing some cost pressure from dockless bike-share (DoBi) and to try to increase relatively low overall ridership rates, and especially in Pasadena and the harbor area. DoBi, now available in more than half a dozen L.A. neighborhoods, generally offers an initial week or month of free rides, then charges $1 per ride.

If approved, the new bike-share fare structure will likely to remove some barriers to Metro Bike Share ridership.

What these changes would not address (and what Metro does not control directly) is how safe L.A. streets are for active transportation. For bike-share to thrive, the region needs more safe and comfortable places to bike. It also needs better walkability, which is effectively bike-share’s first/last mile.

While downtown L.A. is arguably more walkable and has more of a bike network than much of southern California, it lags behind many other U.S. cities that have prioritized cyclist and pedestrian safety. L.A. bike-share utilization lags behind New York City, San Francisco, and Santa Monica – similar to the way that L.A. lacks the complete streets networks that those cities have implemented. Downtown L.A. is taking steps in the right direction with more and better facilities for walking, bicycling, and transit on the way – from My Figueroa to Main & Spring Forward to the Regional Connector subway. As these and other street improvements come online, bike-share ridership can expand beyond just the “strong and fearless” to the average Angeleno.

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