Metro Bike Share Opens in Los Angeles Today

The program is finally set to launch four years after the idea was first put forward.

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Metro Bike Share

Photo: Metro Bike Share

After nearly four years of false starts, Los Angles residents will finally have access to public bike share, beginning today. The long-anticipated Metro Bike Share system is set to launch today, with a planned program of up to 1,000 bikes at 65 stations around downtown LA.

The system is a partnership program between the City of Los Angeles and Metro, the city’s public transportation agency. Many of the stations will be placed around key downtown Metro stations such as Union Station, Grand Central Market, Staples Center, and the 7th Street/ Metro Center Station. While in many cities, public bike share systems operate separately from the public transportation system, the fact that Metro has taken on this project goes a long way to drive home the message that bike share is, in fact, public transportation. The placing of stations near key transit hubs enables more people to incorporate biking into their regular transit patterns, using the bikes as a last-mile option where they previously may have walked or taken a taxi.

The operator is Bicycle Transit Systems, the same company who operates Indego Bike Share in Philadelphia and Spokies Bike Share in Oklahoma City.

Price-wise, the system will be comparable to taking public transit for pass-holders, and double that for walk-up riders. A monthly pass of unlimited 30-minute rides costs USD $20, a yearly pass costs USD $40 but each trip is an additional $1.75 under that pass, and a walk-up single ride costs $3.50. Metro also received a USD $75,000 grant from Philadelphia-based Better Bike Share Partnership in order to find ways to make the system more accessible and comfortable for low-income communities, who are typically underserved by public bike share.

It’s great to see a public bike share system finally get off the ground in a car-centric city such as Los Angeles. While the city still has a long way to go in turning around decades of auto-centric planning, the launch of Metro Bike Share is a solid sign that the wheels of change are starting to turn for the better.

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