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News Release

MTC, Lyft Kick Off Bay Wheels’ East Bay Expansion

New E-bikes, More Stations in Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville
Karl Nielsen
John Goodwin, 415-778-5262
Laura Krull, 415-778-6629

MTC and Lyft today announced the addition of 24 new docking stations and 565 next-generation docked e-bikes to the Bay Wheels regional bikeshare system in Oakland and Emeryville. New e-bikes also are scheduled for arrival in Berkeley in the coming weeks, pending final local approvals. 

The East Bay expansion marks the second phase of a two-step Bay Wheels growth strategy that began last fall with the introduction of more than 1,500 new e-bikes and 30 new docking stations in San Francisco and San Jose as well as a reduction in both annual membership prices and members’ e-bike usage fees throughout the Bay Wheels network. These measures are aimed at improving Bay Wheels’ long-term sustainability by growing ridership and reducing operational costs. E-bikes’ ability to climb hills, travel longer distances, and attract riders of varying physical abilities could make them a transformational mobility option for Bay Area residents and visitors alike.

“Bikesharing, and e-bikes in particular, play a big role in our Plan Bay Area 2050 strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” noted MTC Chair and Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza. “The Commission committed $20 million to promote the use of e-bikes for more of the short trips people make each day. These improvements to the Bay Wheels system are a big part of that commitment.” 

“This marks a significant milestone for Bay Wheels in the East Bay and for our partnership with MTC,” said Caroline Samponaro, Vice President of Transit and Micromobility Policy at Lyft. “The leadership shown by MTC and East Bay officials sets an example for other cities and regions around the country who want to strengthen their bikeshare systems to meet the challenges and opportunities of this moment in urban transportation.”

MTC later this year will launch a pilot program to provide reduced-cost annual Bay Wheels memberships for area college students. To enhance the growth of Bay Wheels’ e-bike fleet, MTC and Lyft also are piloting grid-connected charging stations using Lyft’s next generation station technology. Electrified stations improve e-bike availability for riders by increasing the number of bikes with sufficient battery charge and making operations more efficient. E-bike batteries traditionally had been charged in a warehouse and then manually swapped at the station.

MTC and Lyft last November reduced the cost of an annual Bay Wheels membership to $150 from $169 and cut the cost for members to use a Bay Wheels e-bike to 15 cents per minute from 20 cents per minute. Monthly members now automatically transition to an annual membership at no additional cost when they renew for five consecutive months. 

Bay Wheels’ next generation e-bikes are being used three times as often as classic pedal bikes. These new e-bikes have double the battery life, a more powerful motor for going uphill, improved stability and ergonomics, and better theft deterrents. They also use new bikes exclusively dock in stations to improve predictability and availability for riders.

“Berkeley is excited about the role every e-bike — whether shared or not — can play in achieving our transportation and climate goals,” said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, who also serves as vice president of the Association of Bay Area Governments’ Executive Board. “The arrival of the Bay Wheels e-bikes will complement the e-bike loan and rebate programs provided by the City of Berkeley, the Alameda County Transportation Commission and East Bay Community Energy. More e-bikes give more people an alternative to driving.”

Launched in 2017, Bay Wheels is the Bay Area’s regional bikeshare program with over 6,000 bicycles  —  both pedal-powered and pedal-assist electric bikes — at more than 500 stations in San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville. Lyft operates the Bay Wheels program under a contract managed by MTC. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.