The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all transportation in the city, today announced that the first phase of the regional bicycle sharing program, led by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and scheduled to launch this summer in San Francisco, Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Jose, will be named “Bay Area Bike Share.”
At launch, Bay Area Bike Share members will have access to 700 bikes at 70 automated stations throughout the Peninsula corridor, 350 bikes and 35 stations of which are slated for San Francisco.
The SFMTA has also announced it will be hosting the first local open house for Bay Area Bike Share on Thursday, May 30 at the North Light Court in San Francisco’s City Hall, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn about and discuss bicycle sharing, the regional program, and planning and implementation details for San Francisco. The public is invited to share ideas for station locations for the new bike share system.
Bike sharing programs have numerous positive impacts for cities. They deliver all the benefits of bicycling, such as reducing traffic congestion, improving public health and air quality and generating new jobs. Bike share programs also partner well with transit to get residents and visitors from their transit stop to their final destination. Moreover, bike sharing is a convenient and affordable transportation alternative that helps to overcome using a bike in a city, such as storage and bike theft; it also introduces new audiences to the freedom and convenience of using bicycles for short trips.
“Bay Area Bike Share will introduce more people to the joy of bicycling in San Francisco,” said Tom Nolan, chairman of the SFMTA board of directors. “Bay Area Bike Share is an incredibly visible and tangible representation of how the San Francisco Bay Area is one of most innovative regions in the world.”
“The SFMTA is thrilled to be a part of this exciting project and invites the community to come and help shape this new program’s success,” said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA director of transportation. “While this initial phase is only the first step in our efforts to provide a full program for San Francisco, Bay Area Bike Share will be an integral tool in making bicycling a part of everyday life in our city.”
Bay Area Bike Share bikes are extremely robust, commuter-style bikes built to withstand constant use and resist theft. They feature a front basket, seven internal speeds and GPS technology that will provide open and anonymous data to the public in San Francisco. The automated bike share stations, which run on batteries that are charged with solar power, are portable and modular, meaning they can be easily moved or expanded to accommodate changing demand.
Bay Area Bike Share is anticipated to launch in August and additional equipment is expected three to six months after the launch, growing the Bay Area Bike Share fleet to at least 1,000 bikes throughout the regional system. In San Francisco, the first phase service area will be in the downtown/SOMA corridor, between the Financial District, Market Street and the Transbay and Caltrain terminals. The SFMTA has goals of eventually expanding the system to a full-scale 3,000-bike system that could blanket northeastern San Francisco with bike sharing, extending into Mission Bay, the Inner Sunset and Marina districts.