I just received a press release from Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) that the San Francisco Bay Area Bikeshare will launch on Thursday, August 29 2013. I’ve pasted the text of the release below. It mentions only the cities of Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Jose because those are the cities covered by VTA, but the launch will occur system wide on that day in San Francisco and Redwood City.
Initial deployment = 280 bicycles for San Jose, Mountain View and Palo Alto
San Jose, Calif. – Starting August 29, residents and visitors of Santa Clara County will embark on the first bike sharing pilot program offered in the Bay Area. As part of Bay Area Bike Share, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) will initially deploy 280 bicycles at 28 kiosk stations, providing access to shared bicycles 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for use in the cities of San Jose, Mountain View and Palo Alto.
The pilot will launch in two phases: the first phase to deploy on August 29 will have a total of 700 bikes available region wide. For the second phase of the pilot, it is anticipated that 300 additional bikes and 30 kiosks will be added in the first quarter 2014 to reach the full pilot complement of 1,000 bikes and 100 stations. Santa Clara County will receive an additional 120 bicycles and kiosks for a grand total of 400 once the full pilot launch is complete.
“As a fan of two-pedal power myself, I have been heartened by the steady increase in cycling’s popularity, especially for commuting. Cycling helps decrease both pollution and your waistline,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor and Air District Director Ken Yeager. “Bike Share is the perfect way to run short errands around town or get to work from our busiest transit hubs.”
The pilot program is brought to the region through a multi-agency public partnership including the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, San Mateo County, Redwood City, SamTrans/Caltrain, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and VTA. Bike Share will make it more convenient to take public transit by expanding the reach of transit stops and destinations through short bicycle trips within the communities where the service is offered.
“VTA is thrilled to be a part of the region-wide commitment that will provide those who travel by public transportation within Santa Clara County another convenient commute option that ultimately makes riding transit a more viable option,” said Joe Pirzynski, VTA Board Chair, MTC Commissioner, and Town of Los Gatos Councilmember. “The bike-share program pilot is a smart, sustainable and regionally-focused solution that helps bridge the gap for transit riders making last-mile connections to employment centers, universities, and entertainment destinations.”
Bicycle stations will be located at main transit hubs including San Jose Diridon, San Antonio, Mountain View and Palo Alto Caltrain Stations.
In San Jose, destination kiosks will be placed at popular downtown locations like San Pedro Square, Adobe, Convention Center, San Jose State, City Hall, and Japantown. “In San Jose, we are excited to bring bike sharing services to our community in support of our goal to be among the best big cities in America for bicycling,” said Hans Larsen, Director of Transportation. “Bike sharing is a perfect complement to our growing network of safe and convenient bikeways that include trails, protected bike lanes and green lanes.”
Bike kiosks will also be featured at popular destinations points including the San Antonio Shopping Center, downtown Mountain View, Stanford University and downtown Palo Alto.
“Improving bike and pedestrian mobility is a high priority for the City of Mountain View and we have made significant investments in new bike facilities,” said Mountain View City Manager Dan Rich. “We are pleased to participate in the Bay Area Bike Share pilot program to improve opportunities for our residents and visitors to get around safely and conveniently on a bicycle.”
“Palo Alto has the highest bicycle mode use for commuters and students than any other city in Santa Clara County, and the Bike Share program will support those last mile trips between Caltrain, the downtown area and Stanford University,” said Palo Alto City Manager James Keene. “Bike sharing is a great way to encourage commuters to leave their cars at home, and the City is excited to participate in a program that will enhance the bicycle networks in our community.”
Rates to join Bay Area Bike Share will be $88 for an annual pass, $22 for a three-day pass and $9 for a daily pass. Each pass provides for unlimited trips during the membership period, with no additional cost for the first 30 minutes of each trip. Trips that exceed 30 minutes will incur surcharges.
The cost of the full pilot totals $11.2 million, and is funded using Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality ($7.1 million), Transportation fund for Clean Air ($2.8 million) and other local funds ($1.3 million). The program is managed by the Air District in partnership with MTC and local partners. Bay Area residents and visitors can learn more about bike share at www.bayareabikeshare.com, facebook.com/bayareabikeshare and @sfbayareabikeshare (Twitter).
It sounds nice, but with 3 million people in the 3 counties (San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara), that’s only 1 bike for every 3000 people. The cost of the pilot program seems to be $11,200 a bike, which is pretty high. Would it have been a better use of money just to buy 20,000 bikes and give them away? Or buy 40,000 bikes and sell them at half price?