Town Square

Bike share system to roll out on the Peninsula

Original post made on Jul 16, 2013

Memberships went on sale Monday for the bike sharing-system debuting in Mountain View and the Peninsula next month. Officials are promising local users won't see the glitches that recently triggered a slew of complaints in New York.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 11:55 AM


Posted by K Gordon, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm

This is a great system, and it's terrific that it is coming to our area. My husband and I used Alta's bikeshare system in Washington DC this past April, and it was easy to use, convenient, cost efficient and fun. Although it is mainly designed for commuting, we found it a great way to get around as tourists. Perhaps when future kiosks are installed, they will serve the industrial parks so that commuters can pick them up at the Castro train station and drop them near their place of business. As far as availability goes, there is a useful phone app called Spotcycle that shows each kiosk and whether it has available bikes and docs. We were very impressed with every aspect of the Alta bikeshare system in DC and look forward to using it here.

Posted by Nancy Morimoto, a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I'm very excited about the potential for this program to decrease our dependence on solo car travel. The Greater San Antonio area is a bit more spread out than Castro Street and so for those taking transit to or from the area, a "free" 30 minute bike use would be very convenient.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm

One thing missing from this article was the cost to taxpayers. We should assume this is the same system approved last year with that million dollar tax subsidy? Maybe just buy 10,000 bicycles and leave them around town.
"Not fast enough, not big enough, but d*mn! it sure is expensive enough!"

Posted by Steve, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm

"Bike share system to hit the Peninsula"

What? I thought this started a long time ago. Given the frequency of bicycles being "borrowed"

Posted by abe, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 16, 2013 at 4:27 pm

For $1200, these bikes better have a GPS on them.

How does Google get away with so many bikes on campus, even at night time? I doubt they have a bicycle wrangler. Do the bikes have GPS on them? Are they just confident that the ugly colors ward off notions of thievery? Or are the bikes simply very cheap to produce and/or Google is so rich that they simply don't care? I drive thru the campus on my way to work and I've always been interested in this.

Posted by Darin, a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Darin is a registered user.

Yes, Google has (or at least had) "bicycle wranglers". IIRC, they check for Google bikes that need repairs, redistribute bikes when too many end up in one place, etc.

Posted by Jill, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 16, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Mountain View extends north of Central and south of El Camino. Why are the sites so tightly aligned within one zone?

Posted by GDM, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 17, 2013 at 10:32 am

The sites chosen seem strange to me. If this is to be an extension of the transit system it won't work for people who live south of El Camino and commute on Caltrain or Light Rail. They still have to drive their car or own their own bike.

Posted by hoping, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Hoping that the system gets upgraded soon to have many more stations. The current design has very limited usefulness, but maybe that is intentional because there are so few bikes in the system. New York City's bike share system started with 6000 bikes and they plan to double that in the next year or 2. 750 bikes for the whole Bay Area pales in comparison.

Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 18, 2013 at 10:21 pm

My inside sources tell me staff went ahead with this proposal because of the federal grant dollars. This effort will fail because the bikes will only provide one way rental. If you are planning a round trip, you will not be able to use the same bike each way.

Posted by Janet L, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 19, 2013 at 10:45 am

Political Insider, The system definitely allows round trips. You check out a bike from one station, ride somewhere, check the bike in at a station near your destination, do your errand and then check a bike out (either the same or another one) for the return trip. Or if your errand is short you keep the same bike and return it to where you started.

Posted by Otto Maddox, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm


People can't pretend all they like but in the end we Californians love our cars.

We will drive across the street instead of walking. We think bikes on the road are a nuisance. Yes, I'm generalizing but what I'm saying it generally true.

This might have worked in New York City but cars are a burden there.

That's just not the same here in Mountain View.

Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm

@Janet L - You still have to check the bike in if you are going to work or shopping for several hours. You are not allowed to park/keep the bike at work and pay for the rental all day. You must ride from station to station. You may be able to check out the same bike but cannot reserve/use as a round trip.

Most MV residents own a bicycle so maybe people that take buses or trains to work will find the bike program useful if a station is near where they work. Most residents will not find this to be a useful program

On the news the other day I heard several complaints about the bike program in NY from pedestrians.

Posted by Fou du vélo, a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Does anybody know where exactly the stations will be installed? While I'm all for getting more people biking/walking, I would be concerned if the stations were taking valuable space from pedestrians (sidewalk....).

Posted by Janet L, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Political Insider, Yes, you have to check the bike in if you're not using it for a few hours. That's what makes it bike share and not bike rental. But checking it in is not any harder than locking a bike up.

I've used bike share elsewhere before. It was very nice to put it back in a docking station and not to have to worry about someone stealing the bike. My niece lives on Capitol Hill in D.C. and she and her husband use it regularly for short trips: groceries, theater, business meetings.

I'm not sure how well it will work in Mountain View with the small number of bikes and stations we're getting. Plus our city is not as dense as D.C. or NYC. But the issue isn't that it's a station-to-station program per se.

Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Political Insider said "so maybe people that take buses or trains to work will find the bike program useful". That is exactly the target market for this pilot program. VTA studied this for several years, and decided that is what would work. We don't have the density of housing and shopping that would allow the same kind of bike sharing that works in some cities. Targeting Caltrain stations seems reasonable to me, although I still have doubts about this working here. Let's let the pilot run its course and see what happens.

Posted by PA Resident, a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2013 at 7:54 am

It would make much more sense if this was regional rather than city by city. Palo Alto/Mountain View is an area where people cross city limits all the time and unless this is recognized by bike sharing facilities it won't work well.

Posted by parent, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 21, 2013 at 10:16 am

Supposedly this system is regional. You should be able to pick up a bike in Mountain View and return it in Palo Alto. I just wish there were more stations in Palo Alto besides University Ave.

Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 7:06 am

The system works from San Jose to San Francisco, and one membership is good for all the locations in between.

Posted by parent, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2013 at 10:10 am

The main problem is that there are not enough bike share stations to make this a truly regional solution. Biking between Mountain View and Palo Alto may fit in the 30 minute time window, but there are no stations in Sunnyvale or Santa Clara or Los Altos or Cupertino and most people can't make it all the way to San Jose in 30 minutes. Frankly, I am shocked that they don't at least have bikes at all the Caltrain stations.

Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 8:49 pm

It's not about biking from one city to another. They are targeting people getting off the train and riding to a nearby destination. For the pilot they have chosen only the busiest stations. Eventually it may expand, but they need to succeed in this limited market segment before they can justify trying anything else.

Posted by @ Otto, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 24, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I agree with you 100%, but what do you think the city is doing by trying to make road diets? They are purposely trying to make it a burden for you to use your car.

They want you and every car lover out there to take their beloved bikes or trains or buses.

It's part of the GRAND PLAN