Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2016 – 4:13 PM
(CNS) – Metro officials kicked-off the agency’s bike-share program today with nearly 300 bicyclists — including Mayor Eric Garcetti — riding out of Grand Park to several bike stations sprinkled throughout downtown Los Angeles.
The transportation agency’s first bike-share program — there is already one in Santa Monica, and others cities across the country — will include as many as 1,000 bikes that can be checked out with a TAP card for short trips at up to 65 stations around downtown Los Angeles.
Metro board members, including Garcetti and board chair John Fasana, hopped on the black and green bicycles for an inaugural ride to Union Station. They were joined by bicycle enthusiasts and other members of the public who came out to Grand Park today to take the bikes out for a test run.
Fasana, who is a council member in the city of Duarte, said the bike sharing program is part of a “transportation revolution” happening at Metro and is a “natural extension” of the public transportation system.
“We’re commonly known as the car capital today,” he said. “We’re making room for bikes today.”
Garcetti said the bike share program will allow people to appreciate the downtown area more.
“Downtown L.A. is a fascinating place to explore on two wheels,” he said. “Metro Bike Share gives Angelenos and visitors and affordable way to experience some of our city’s most incredible sights.”
The program is now open only to monthly and year-round pass holders, and will not be available to walk-up riders until Aug. 1. The bike share racks are installed in popular spots around downtown, including Grand Park, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, the Los Angeles Convention Center, South Park, the Arts District and the Fashion District.
The stations are also be clustered around light rail stations and bus stops, including Union Station, and is meant to give people an option for getting to the closest public transit station that is nevertheless not near enough for it to be convenient to get to, which is commonly known as the first and last mile problem.
The bike share program is also meant to appeal to tourists and other visitors to Los Angeles, Metro officials said.
The monthly pass is $20, which allows riders use the bikes for free during the first 30 minutes, with every half hour afterwards costing $1.75. If a rider returns the bicycle to a station before the first half hour is up, they can restart the process with another free 30 minutes, which means a person can ride for free several times as long as they keep checking the bicycles in and out. The year-round pass is $40, with each 30 minutes costing $1.75. The walk- up cost will be $3.50 per half hour.
Metro officials said today they are working on bringing bike share stations to such locales as Pasadena, North Hollywood, Burbank, Huntington Park, East Los Angeles, Venice, Marina Del Rey and the San Gabriel Valley.