News

Bay Area bike share to start in Mountain View

A Bay Area bike share program in Mountain View, San Francisco, Redwood City, San Jose and Palo Alto will begin operating on Aug. 29, according to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

The program's first phase is set to launch that day with 700 bikes available for rent at 70 stations and the second phase will add 300 bikes and 30 stations by end of the year, VTA General Manager Michael Burns said.

In Santa Clara County, the VTA provided matching funds to locate the bikes in San Jose, Mountain View and Palo Alto, where 400 of the total 1,000 bikes will be operating when phase two is complete, Burns said.

The Canadian-made, seven-speed bikes will be available for rent with memberships costing $88 per year, $22 for a three-day pass and $9 for a daily pass, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

The $7 million program's bikes are intended for short trips of 30 minutes or less but borrowers may use them for longer periods for an extra fee, air district officials said.

The company Alta Bike Share was chosen to manage the bike share program, partnering with the VTA, the air district, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transit District, Burns said.

Alta Bike Share currently runs bike share programs in New York, Chicago, Boston and Washington D.C., Burns said.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Posted by Croc Dundee, a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm

$7,000,000 divided by 700 bicyles is $10,000 a bicycle.
The Paris system spent an average of $3,500 per bicyle. See <Web Link;. The Times article summarized Paris' experience as follows:
"With 80 percent of the initial 20,600 bicycles stolen or damaged, the program's organizers have had to hire several hundred people just to fix them. And along with the dent in the city-subsidized budget has been a blow to the Parisian psyche.

"The symbol of a fixed-up, eco-friendly city has become a new source for criminality," Le Monde mourned in an editorial over the summer. "The Vélib' was aimed at civilizing city travel. It has increased incivilities." "

I hope that we have better luck here.


Posted by old data, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 13, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Your data from Paris is very old. Newer bike share systems that require you to lock the bikes in secure stations have very low theft rates.

I presume that the $10,000 per bicycle number is because the deployment is so small. New York City just started a bike share system with 10 times as many bicycles. You can look up their cost per bicycle. If the Bay Area is smart about this system and ramps up the deployment quickly, then we can have a useful and cost effective system.

I'm afraid that the initial roll out is so small that people will be paying in advance and not being able to find the bikes that they paid for.


Posted by Anne, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 14, 2013 at 5:48 am

I just used the velib in Paris and Villo in Brussels. The system is great when you can find a bike and a station where you can return the bike. It costs 7 euro to get a 7 day pass and first half hour is free of charge. After that time it becomes expensive.

To get a pass, there is a 150 euro deducted from your visa card, so you are responsible for getting your bike back to a station or securing it properly. The only downside of the system is to find a station with enough bikes if you are a group and enough spaces to return them. Otherwise you can spend a lot of time (and money).

But once you get a bike, it's great to tour the city that way and I hope people will get on board with this system. I plan to use it for friends and family who come to visit the Bay!


Posted by Steve, a resident of another community
on Aug 14, 2013 at 6:17 pm

The start up cost is expensive beyond stupidity, and no one is talking realistically about the operating cost yet. And what about liability? Are helmets supplied? Gloves? Knee pads? The lawsuits will fly every time someone is injured. The city of Mountain View might also be held liable for providing bike routes which are nothing more than regular streets painted "Bike Boulevard".
It is doomed to fail, but no one will ever admit it, and we'll all keep paying through the nose.
Someone is getting wealthy from our tax dollars, and this scheme is so absurd that they MUST be laughing out loud.


Posted by resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm

It is not doomed to fail. New York City launched their own bike share system earlier this year and it has been a runaway success. On average, each of their bikes is rented more than 7 times every day. I expect the similar results here, except that the success may be limited by the number of bikes and stations that are available. Hopefully they will see the light and expand quickly to a more useful size.


Posted by PA Resident, a resident of another community
on Aug 14, 2013 at 7:21 pm

This could turn out to be a great deal. Having just spent over $20 for repair work done on my son's bike for the third time this year, I would imagine that $88 for a year's rental with free maintenance is a great deal.

I hope they put them near the high school and near my house soon! :)


Posted by Anthony Moor, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 15, 2013 at 7:13 am

I used the new Boris Bikes in London a few weeks ago and the system was fantastic. But yes, while I was there the papers reported on the first rider to die in traffic.

Sure there will be hiccups and problems here; there always are. If 100% success, zero loss and accidents were the threshold for every transportation project, you wouldn't ever attempt any. It's not a question of spending money unwisely, it's whether this expense to improve transit is better than other expenses. Given the needs we have today and the unpalatable alternatives, this is a wonderful experiment that will have a knock on effect of making our community more pedestrian friendly and connected at the same time. I'll pay more in taxes for these kinds of projects!


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm

My sources tell me these bikes are for one way short term traffic routes, not touring the city. Most residents already own bikes and maybe those that come by train to Mountain View will use the bikes to get to work. People in NY complain about the bikes on sidewalks.

10k a bike is pretty expensive if the rental rates are supposed to cover the cost of the program


Posted by People, a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 15, 2013 at 4:19 pm

People, this is not NYC, nor London, nor Brussels, nor is it Iowa city. If you want it to be like that, then move back there. Asta lavista and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

10k for a bike when you can get one for 100 dollars at Target? Something sure smells fishy about this.


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2013 at 8:02 am

The bikes cost about $1200 each, and that includes always-on lights, rack, etc. The rest of the money is for setting up and administering the program: racks, payment processing, maintenance, insurance, etc. The number of bikes will increase from 700 to 1000 by the end of the year. That still may not be enough, and the number of locations is limited. If they are heavily used, the program will expand. The cost of this program is tiny compared to what is spent on adding lanes and modifying interchanges on 101. I think it is a worthwhile trial project. Let's give it a year and see what happens.


Posted by HWY-101, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm

@Donald, are you implying these bikes will be used on 101?

The cost of the program is $10,000 / bike. All expenses must be included in the cost, not just the ones you like. Unless you are from Sacramento or DC of course.

Within one year the operation will need subsidies, just like every other transportation system every devised.


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2013 at 5:56 pm

They are starting with 700 bikes, and will expand to 1000 by the end of the year. In your eyes, does that make the cost per bike drop from $10,000 to $7000 between August and December? The point is that there are certain fixed costs that will not increase with the number of bikes, so as the program expands the "cost per bike" will drop dramatically. This is easy to understand if you categorize the costs, but makes no sense if you insist as viewing them as one undifferentiated sum.

You are correct that all transportation systems use subsidies, explicit or hidden, so we should not expect this to be any different.


Posted by PoliticalInsider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 20, 2013 at 9:11 am

And if no one uses them? A giant boondoggle for someone.


Posted by parent, a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2013 at 10:30 am

We signed up. Can't wait for the program to start. We really really hate hunting for parking spaces around town.


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