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.

  • Nancy Johnson

    Great example of how all of this road diet/bike nonsense is a failed attempt at social engineering. No one rides bikes in LA because they are not an efficient form of transportation. You can keep blaming it on the bike infrastructure, but adding protected bike lanes doesn’t change that Los Angeles is a low density sprawling city and people MUST use cars.

  • Di

    I disagree. Bike infrastructure helps you get places faster and more safely. I live in Koreatown and commute to Santa Monica, sometimes by bike/train and sometimes by bus/train or train/train, and both ways are faster than driving (which is a moot point because I don’t own a car anyway). Everyone I talk to who doesn’t bike says something along the lines of “it just feels too scary,” not “it’s inefficient.” If your commute is 10 miles or less, riding a bike in LA is actually more efficient in many parts of the city than driving at rush hours. Unless you commute from the Valley to Anaheim or something every day, a bike can be a perfectly reasonable way to get places. I do wish I had more designated bike lanes, fewer potholes in existing bike lanes, and fewer people in cars who choose to engage in shouted conversation at me.

    Your comment is also the opposite of what the article shows. If anything, the article shows that infrastructure IS what is keeping a lot of people back. In downtown LA, the bikes are available, the density and proximity is there, but people don’t feel safe *due to lack of infrastructure.*

  • Kyle Jonathan Chang
  • calwatch

    We also need more electric bikes and scooters, which is one thing that can help reduce congestion and make for more mode-appropriate trips. Instead we have Lyft drivers like myself scooting people around three and four miles in 15-30 minutes, and when they include wait time it would have been faster for them to bike themselves or use a scooter or electric bike.

  • Matt

    Bike Share can work. Just look at Breeze in SM/Venice. It is actually profitable on an operating basis. Of course, SM/Venice has the beach, better weather than LA/Pasadena and overall great bike lanes (best in SoCal).

    It will be interesting to see if they can successfully link UCLA, BH, WH, and SM now that those Cyclehop systems are interchangeable. Need to connect the intermediate areas to really see.

  • ExpoRider

    You’re wrong on so many levels. I’ll only respond to one of your comments: “people MUST use cars”.
    I’m a person in LA who used to use my car for virtually all trips, and I drove more than 10,000 miles in my car every year. In the past five years I have bought two bikes and I now drive my car less than 1,500 miles per year. Most weeks I only make one ten mile round trip by car, and I go everywhere else by bike (3,000 miles per year) or transit (4,000 miles per year).

  • ExpoRider

    This would be a welcome and long overdue change! The best news would be if they can actually implement the plans to integrate Bike Share with transit to close the first mile/last mile gap.
    The one element of the revised plan that I’d be cautious of is the cost of the day pass. The Breeze system in Santa Monica is sensitive to the local vendors who cater to tourists. I think they used to offer day passes (which aren’t available any more) that were priced higher to avoid the appearance of under-cutting their market.

  • theizaster

    Wow! you managed to use at least 4 anti-government, NIMBY buzzwords in one post. Congrats! Your reward is: absolutely nothing but shame and embarrassment.

  • Wilfried84

    Could someone please decode the abbreviations for those of us not familiar with LA geography? Thank you.

  • Wilfried84

    Gee, look at the success of the social engineering, driven largely by the auto and associated industries, the huge capital investments, the devaluing and defunding of all other modes of transportation, that made private automobiles the only viable mode of transportation, whether in people’s minds or in fact.So maybe we can devote some resources, social, political, financial, realign the social engineering of last century. The car centric world was made, by people and the decisions they made; it is not an inevitable fact of nature.

  • Matt

    BH – Beverly Hills, WH – West Hollywood, SM = Santa Monica

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