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SGV Connect 119 : ActiveSGV’s Jose Jimenez

Damien Newton 0:01
So this is Damien, I'm recording on Zen caster with Jose Jimenez. Thank you so much for being here today. You have been working with the GoSGV Bike Share, or I guess mobility share, program for a year. Now, why don't we just start out with a quick introduction? Tell us a little bit about yourself, and then tell us a little bit about this program?

Jose Jimenez 0:22
Thank you for having me on today. My name is Jose Jimenez. I'm a program director for active San Gabriel Valley, which is the operator of the GoSGV regional ee-bikeshare. program. We did just complete our one year anniversary from launch of GoSGV. But for those that aren't familiar with GoSGV, we are the regional bike share program in the San Gabriel Valley. We cover over 374 square miles, over 2 million residents, in 31 cities. If you're in the San Gabriel Valley, and you're looking for an electric bike share program, we would be the people that. For those not familiar with Bike Share, our program is a little bit different with than what you might normally hear on the news or see in your city streets. Our E-bike share program is a monthly check out program. You register for an electric bicycle, you actually register and keep the bicycle with you for that entire month. We'll provide the charger to charge your battery, and we'll also provide a security lock. There is no docking stations that you might be familiar with. When you go to different cities and you see them, on the sidewalk, or if you see them parked in different locations. This particular program allows you to use the bike almost as your personal Bike Share, as long as you need it for that month. There is no minimum requirement. So you keep the bike for a month. And after that month, if you decide to move away from the program, there is no subscription that you must keep. So that's just a little bit background of our GoSGV program for those that are not familiar. But overall, if you're looking to try out an electric bike, or if you need a bicycle for commuting, and you're in the San Gabriel Valley, we'll be able to supply you with an electric bike for at different rates, depending on your needs.

Damien Newton 2:28
I used to have Lyft Bikes where I live. I think the barrier a lot of people had for those bikes was you could take the bike to a restaurant and then get out of the restaurant and the bike is just not there anymore. Someone else rented it. And now I have no way to get home without a long walk or hitching a ride or whatever. And you guys had this different model where you're actually it's more of a bike rental than a bike share, you have it for a month. Were you trying to address that concern? Or was there something else that you were thinking of when when that decision was made?

Jose Jimenez 3:07
There was a couple of things that came to us. Living in the San Gabriel Valley…being more spread out than downtown, having a larger region… we "reimagine Bike Share." We reimagine e Bike Share to make it something that would work in our communities. So therefore, you're not required to leave it at a dock a docking station that might not be close to where you want to go. You don't have to worry about bikes not being there when you leave the restaurant because someone else decided to pick it up. This allows you to use the bicycle as you need…the electric bicycle as you need for your needs. It does not require you to you know, look for one and drop it off at a farther location or worry about the bike not being available, because someone checked it out. And again, that was kind of to address the fact that our region is a larger region, not as centralized as downtown areas.

Damien Newton 4:07
So it doesn't sound like you're saying our system is better than the other system but that "our system works better for our geography and for our population," that would use it than say the lift model of dropping as many bikes as they can in an area and just hoping there'd be one available when people wanted it.

Jose Jimenez 4:24
Yeah, so that's definitely something that we thought about. The model is a little bit more suited to our region and our residents and people that will use our bikes just because we're definitely trying to meet the needs of our community. And I think this this way does it better and it also allows city to be a little bit more comfortable not having dozens of bikes dropped off in their city streets.

Damien Newton 4:49
So, a couple of weeks ago we did our ArroyoFest podcast and Wes Reutimann was saying, "reserve now and you can have a bike for ArroyoFest." So I wanted to talk about the rental process too…or is it too late to rent a bike for ArroyoFest? Does it work monthly, like October 1 to October 31. Or, when you sign up, if there's a bike available does your one month start when you get your bike.

Jose Jimenez 5:15
So for Arrroyofest, you have the option to check it out for the day or keep it for the month. So everybody that's checking one out right now. We'll be picking him up for ArroyoFest, but you have the option to keep it that entire month, or return it at the end of the day as you're choosing. But right now, we do currently still have bikes for checkout. So you can actually go to our website at the or ActiveSGV and register for a bicycle for ArroyoFest.

Damien Newton 5:50
We are recording this the week of October 16 through 22nd. So it is possible that if this does not go up that week that those bikes will be rented. So as we get closer to ArroyoFest on the 29th, if this is something you're interested in, definitely make sure can you hit those links in the text that accompanies this podcast.

Jose Jimenez 6:12
Yeah, so if you go to, there will be a link there to register for one of the GoSGV Bikes, we will also be having a demo zone in South Pasadena at the at the at the hub in South Pasadena.You can actually still try out a bicycle in our demo zone if you're not lucky enough to reserve in time. So you can still check out the bikes and try them out and see if this E bike share program works for you. Or even if E bikes might be something that you're considering, but not have much information about.

Damien Newton 6:47
I know I am signed up for the 10k. And I was like maybe I should get a bike to wait for me at the finish line. So I can just take it right back. But apparently it's not a bike at the finish line level of customization and SGVConnect doesn't have the pole to just get our own special bike. Really nice. So anyway, it's been a year since GoSGV launched a lot of times when you're approaching anniversaries is when groups like to roll out the stats…you know we saved this many butterflies or whatever. What can you tell us about the success of the program so far? Because obviously you guys have been very proud of it SCAG who funded it is very proud of it. So what can you tell us about it? What kind of what can you what kind of specifics?

Jose Jimenez 7:32
Yeah, I think the the the overall numbers right now that we're proud of is currently we have over 150 bikes out in the community. For electric bikes, you know, we have a just to let everybody know, we do have two style bicycles: we have our standard commuter that you could check out on our website. And then we also have a cargo ebike, which has been really popular. We have 12 cargo e-bikes that you can check out. We do limit to two month periods because of the popularity. And typically there's about a two month waiting period for the amount of people looking to check out a cargo bike. As far as bikes again, we have over 150 out in the community. Some exciting news coming next year is we're going to expand the fleet of cargo bikes to allow different options. And also just for everybody here, we're actually going to be rolling out an electric electric bike rebate program next year as well. So that's something y'all could look forward to. If you're looking for electric bike, we will be having rebates through our organization and our partners for next year.

Damien Newton 8:50
We're seeing more and more of those. The state of course, is still stumbling through its own rebate program. But Pasadena has their's up and running. We're seeing some cities that are close, but outside the SGV… Santa Monica is starting to get their details together for their programs. So we're seeing more and more of those electric bike rebates. Personally, I had a cargo bike…I had the knockoff of the Dutch style design…when my kids were little. It really was like the baby taxi and it fell apart, but again it was the it was the cheapest one you could imagine. And it's life changing having access to those. I can only imagine how popular these nice electric ones are. I was on the like…Gunpowder versus like the Headless Horseman's sleek Warhorse version that's out now. But they're great. And I always say if you have access to get one of those and you can rent it for a month, do it whether you have kids or not. You'll be amazed at how many how much how many things just get easier with it. Have you ever had a chance to do a cargo bike?

Jose Jimenez 10:01
We actually ran an electric bike rebate program in 2016. So this is…yep, this is our second time around trying to get rebates to the community. So we definitely always had a fleet of electric bikes as early as 2016 that we were lucky enough to use, you know, as needed. With a staff here.

Damien Newton 10:30
There was a there was like an independent newspaper down in Long Beach, it's online only now…I think. But they used to do weekly deliveries in these electric cargo bikes. And it was it was it was cool, like they're so practical. I'm a big fan. Sorry. You really got me on one of my favorite topics.

Jose Jimenez 10:49
Here's another thing for our program: for the year membership, we've had over 400 people through the program. In this past year or so, they've checked out a bike or currently with the bike and have exited the program. But we've actually served over 400 individuals checking out e-bikes and trying them out and seeing if that's a lifestyle for them. And a lot of times people return the bikes, because they end up just purchasing their own bike because it works out for them. So that's something great that we've been able to see, you know, throughout this entire year. And honestly, one of the other things is just seeing all the other programs starting up in our communities, through other nonprofits or other community based organization, with lending libraries and giving people the chance to experience you know, electric bike that would normally not not think about or might not have too much information about it.

Damien Newton 11:42
So as we start to approach it what I always joke is our artificially created time limit because you know, it's online, there's no real time limit…Is there anything you'd like to highlight about the program going forward? And if not, where I'd like to ask where will you physically be if you know, during, during ArroyoFest, or

Jose Jimenez 12:06
We will be located in the South Pasadena hub…

Damien Newton 12:10
You'll be with the bike share program that yes, okay. But don't do you get you get like an hour off to wander around? Are you tethered to the program for the entire ArroyoFest?

Jose Jimenez 12:17
We do get a one hour lunch break where we actually explore and enjoy the event with y'all. So that's one of the downsides…but one of the perks working for for the ArroyoFest is you know, all hands on deck, but we do definitely want to enjoy it, and give everybody a chance to enjoy it on staff. So that's, that's, that's something we're all looking forward to. On that day. And as far as GoSGV. Again, if you're a resident of the San Gabriel Valley, you'll, you'll be able to register on our website, And check out one of the e-bikes that we have. And again, we're going to be expanding our fleet next year for more cargo bikes and more options. And one of the great things is a lot of the now that we're up and running for the past year, we're looking at different cities to partner with. So if you're in a particular city and you want to see GoSGV bikes there we work with cities to actually provide memberships for the residents. So that's something we will officially be launching next week for a certain city so keep an eye out for that some residents of certain cities

Damien Newton 13:26
…"This week" for the people listening now it's next week we recorded it.

Jose Jimenez 13:30
(Laughs) Then if you are a resident of Claremont, you will be able to register for Goshi V bike, and that membership will be fully paid for you. So if you're a resident resin of Clermont, you will actually be able to enjoy GoSGV free of charge for yourself. And we're looking to hopefully expand to other cities as well. So that's a breaking news right here.

Damien Newton 13:57
All right, well, thank you so much. for your time today. I will if I'm not too tired after the run, I will drive myself to the South Pasadena station. So I can say "hi" in person. And it's really I mean the GoSGV works been really great. Like a lot of stuff ActiveSGV has, done. You see it and at Streetsblog you know, we're we're tied into a national network, we want to be like, "Hey, look at this cool stuff that's happening. Because you can build off what they did and do it in your own community." And it sounds like GoSGV is just another example of one of those things that other places should be looking at.

Jose Jimenez 14:32
Yeah, we're We're always excited to kind of try to be as innovative as possible and try to bring these programs to our community and hopefully, you know, little by little expands to others. And you know, this idea catches on.