Los Angeles inaugurates Metro Bike Share
On July 7, Los Angeles inaugurated its city and county Metropolitan Transportation Authority-sponsored bike share program, dubbed Metro Bike Share.
The $11 million pilot program is the first U.S. bike share program to be overseen by a transit authority, The Los Angeles Times reports. Metro Bike Share has made 1,000 bicycles available for short term rentals at 65 bicycle docking stations littered across the city.
“It’s a momentous day,” MTA Board Chairman John Fasana said at a news conference in Grand Park. “We’re commonly referred to as the Car Capital of the World — and are now making room for bikes on our streets and roadways.”
Officials have said that, if approval is granted, the program will grow to offer 4,000 bicycles in nine regions across the metro area beginning in 2017, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. A study is determining whether adding bicycles in Burbank, Huntington Park, Marina Del Ray, East Los Angeles and across the San Gabriel Valley is feasible.
The program is currently only open to those with monthly or annual bike-share pass holders, 89.3 KPCC reports. Starting Aug. 1, anyone will be able to walk up and rent the bicycles for $3.50 per every 30 minutes.
“I think the Valley is ideal for bike share — with big, wide-open spaces and limited transportation options,” Jim Shanman, a founder of advocacy group Walk ’n Rollers, told the Daily News. “This is an exciting day. This is for real. This is actually happening.
Los Angeles officials want to focus their efforts on increasing the program’s participation amongst low-income communities, KPCC reports.
"Historically in other cities that have done bike-share, they’ve really been looking at this demographic of more affluent people that don’t necessarily ride bikes or take transit," Allison Mannos, who works for the nonprofit Multicultural Communities for Mobility, told KPCC.
Mans and her colleagues will be surveying low-income communities about the prices they would be willing to pay for the bicycles, but Metro is considering offering a low-income discount.
The bicycles themselves have baskets, three gears, automatic lights, reflectors and splash guards, according to Metro Bike Share. Their manufacturer, BCycle, launched the first large-scale U.S. city bike share program in Denver in 2008.
"Downtown L.A. is a fascinating place to explore on two wheels," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told Pacific Palisades Patch. "Metro Bike Share gives Angelenos and visitors and affordable way to experience some of our city's most incredible sights."