At the Silicon Valley Bike Summit last month I saw city of Santa Cruz Economic Development Director J. Guevara looking closely at the bike share bikes on display. Social Bicycles — which provides the “smart bike” systems now in use in San Mateo, CA and — somewhat more famously — Portland, OR, was on hand at the bike summit to demonstrate their system.
It turns out Dr. Guevara was doing more than just kicking the tires.
At the city of Santa Cruz Transportation and Public Works Commission September meeting, he and city transportation planner Claire Fliesler presented their proposal for a smart bike share system to serve Santa Cruz. The Transportation Commission and the Downtown Commission both voted unanimously to forward this proposal to the city council for their consideration.
Unlike the “hub” system in place by the larger bike share systems such as Velib, CitiBike and Bay Area Bike Share where users must retrieve and return bikes from and to designated kiosks, “smart bike” bike share systems have a more ad-hoc approach with bicycles equipped with onboard electronics, locks and location trackers. Mobile apps are used to locate bikes, with reward schemes typically used to encourage returns to more “standard” locations.
Three different bike share companies have already provided bids. According to Dr. Guevara, City Council action can come as soon as October 2016, with launch before the summer of 2017.
More at Good Times Santa Cruz: A Bike Share Program is on Santa Cruz’s Horizon.