SAN FRANCISCO – An agenda posted today by the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission for an upcoming meeting included an item that bicycle advocates around the region are celebrating: a proposal to dramatically expand the Bay Area Bike Share program by adding as many as 7,000 bikes by the end of 2017.
The Bay Area Bike Share program, which launched in August 2013, provides a fleet of bicycles for affordable, easy short-term rentals from secure docking stations 24 hours a day. Bike share bicycles can be rented from and then returned to any station, creating a convenient transportation option between different locations. There are currently 700 bicycles available in San Francisco, Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and San Jose. Residents around the Bay Area have been clamoring for more.
“This 7,000-bicycle expansion of bike share will be a major expansion of our public transportation system,” said Noah Budnick, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. “It will improve mobility for generations to come. Making bike share bicycles and stations accessible to all will give San Franciscans a much-needed convenient transportation option.”
Since launching less than two years ago, nearly half a million rides have been logged on Bay Area Bike Share bicycles, according to data from Motivate, which operates the system.
“Even with the limited number of bike share stations and bicycles we have currently, bike share has proven immensely popular,” said Renee Rivera, executive director of Bike East Bay. “This expansion means many more residents will be able to bridge key gaps in getting around without a car; for example taking a bike share bicycle to quickly get to a BART station that’s not within walking distance.”
“Our region is growing quickly and we need more affordable, sustainable ways for people to get around,” said Corinne Winter, executive director of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. “A robust bike share program has incredible potential for helping address our transportation challenges, plus build on the momentum of bicycling.”
The 7,000 new bicycles will mean many new stations in more locations, making the system easier to use for hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents, and allowing it to serve as a true complement to our transit system. New research on bike sharing from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business shows that having a stations spaced within 1-2 blocks of each another is critical to achieve high ridership rates.
Bikeshare has been successfully implemented in dozens of cities across the United States, including New York City where CitiBike users have logged more than 16 million trips, and Washington DC, where Capital Bikeshare riders have logged 9 million rides. The Bay Area is well-positioned to create similarly robust bike share programs, providing affordable, safe, healthy, and fun ways to get around our region.