The sharing economy that has revolutionized crowd-sourced taxi services and overnight room stays is launching Los Angeles County’s first “bike share” in the People’s Republic of Santa Monica.
New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. have been allowing users to check out bicycles from hundreds of locations, ride to their destination, and drop the bike off for the next share person. Sustainable advocates say that bike sharing is the answer to bridge the “last mile” between public transportation hubs and riders’ homes or offices.
The Los Angeles office of the U.S. Department of Transportation conducted an extensive participatory planning and outreach campaign with local communities. From public workshops to community presentations, DOT actively engaged with the community and listened to their concerns and comments.
The Santa Monica Breeze Bike Share will offer 500 bikes at 75 locations across Santa Monica. The green colored bikes, featuring advertising for the Hulu online television service, are accessed by the user simply entering a 4-digit PIN code or tapping acard on the bicycle’s keypad to release an available bike. By downloading the Social Bicycles mobile app, the user can reserve a bike at a certain location and time.
To end their trip, the user just returns and locks the bike to a Breeze station, or to a rack within 100 feet if the station if the rack is full. For a small additional fee, the user can lock the bike to any other public bike rack in the city and check the screen on the bike for return confirmation.
The “smart bikes” alert the bike share company’s electric collection car to their location for pick-up, if they have not been returned to a bike hub or special docking station.
Breeze Bike Share will officially kick-off the program on November 12 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Santa Monica City Hall. To promote the event, users will get a free ride day if they register as a user online before the celebration.
The cost of rental is $6 per hour, $20 per month, and $49 for annual student or $119 for annual unlimited use memberships. The bikes are eight-speeds with attached geo-tracking and check-out devices. Users can return a rented bike to where they rented it or drop the bike off at another designated docking station for an extra charge.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has already announced plans to launch L.A.’s bike share system in in the spring of 2016 with nearly 1,100 bikes at 65 stations throughout Downtown L.A.