The Bay Area Air Quality Management District and its project partners announced details today about the Bay Area Bike Share system, which is scheduled to launch in August 2013. The system will provide access to shared bicycles 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for use in the cities of San Francisco, Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Jose.
This pilot program is brought to the region through a multi-agency public partnership including the Bay Area Air District, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, County of San Mateo, Redwood City, Caltrain, San Mateo County Transit or SamTrans, the Valley Transportation Authority, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. The bike sharing pilot program will make it more convenient for Bay Area residents and visitors to take public transit and to make short trips within the communities where the service is offered.
“Bike sharing solves the ‘last mile’ commute challenge making it feasible for the public to take transit and ride a bike the final distance to work,” said Jack P. Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “This pilot program will enable commuters to conveniently complete their travel and Spare the Air in the process.”
Membership 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.
Membership sales will open to the public on July 15th. Annual memberships will be available for sale at www.bayareabikeshare.com. The first 1,000 individuals to join as annual members will receive unique Founder Keys in their welcome package. The exact date the service will launch will be announced in July.
“Bike sharing will provide the Bay Area’s residents, businesses and visitors with a new, affordable, healthy and convenient transportation option and the SFMTA is thrilled to be a part of this regional initiative,” Tom Nolan, Chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “The introduction of Bay Area Bike Share memberships and the initial rollout phase are just the first steps in our agency’s efforts to provide a full and robust bike share system for the City of San Francisco.”
The uniquely one-size-fits-all designed bikes will be comfortable for all users and feature seven speeds, upright handlebars, wide seats, hand brakes and a chain guard to protect clothing. Headlights and taillights illuminate automatically when the bike is pedaled.
“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 work, school, and entertainment destinations.”
The first phase of the pilot project will launch with 700 bicycles at 70 kiosk stations deployed throughout the five participating service areas for a 12 to 24 month pilot period. The Air District is securing additional funding to increase the system fleet size by an additional 300 bicycles and 30 stations during the first quarter of 2014.
The kiosk stations will be located near transit hubs, high-density residential areas and key destination points such as employment centers and universities, making it easier to quickly and conveniently connect to and from transit and to make short-distance trips by bike. Bay Area Bike Share will be fun, easy to use and affordable. This service complements the existing transit system by expanding the reach of transit stops and destinations, providing residents and visitors alike with more options to travel in and around town. Bike sharing may also help to reduce the need to take bikes on board regional and local transit – relieving congestion on those systems.
“We’re excited to be leading the way for the implementation of bike sharing in the Bay Area. Providing good first- and last- mile choices helps to remove barriers for public transportation use, eliminates traffic from city streets and the pollution that traffic brings with it,” said Michael J, Scanlon, general manager/CEO for SamTrans and Caltrain.
The pilot project is a partnership among local government agencies including the Air District, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, SamTrans, Caltrain, the County of San Mateo, the City of Redwood City and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. The initial pilot phase is estimated to cost $7 million with $1.4 million in funding provided by the Air District, $1.3 million from the local agency partners and $4.29 million from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's Climate Initiatives Program.
In the Bay Area, the transportation sector accounts for more than 50 percent of overall air pollution. Significant emission reductions from the transportation sector will help the Bay Area attain and maintain state and national air quality standards and reduce greenhouse gases.
Bay Area residents and visitors can learn more about the bike share system at www.bayareabikeshare.com, scheduled to go live later today, facebook.com/bayareabikeshare, and sfbayareabikeshare (twitter).
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area. For more information, visit www.baaqmd.gov.