Options for bikeshare in the Bay Area keep expanding, and the SFMTA is working hard to make sure it happens right for the City and County of San Francisco. Our bikeshare team coordinates with local and regional partner agencies, manages the review and permitting process for both our station-based and stationless operators, works with the private operators to plan and deliver service, and manages and enforces all the necessary contracts and permits.
In 2013 we partnered with public agencies throughout the Bay Area to plan and implement the original Bay Area Bike Share pilot project and we are now leading San Francisco’s efforts to work with our private sector partner to expand the system to over ten times its pilot size. With sponsorship from the Ford Motor Company, in summer of 2017, Motivate, the Bay Area Bikeshare operator since 2014, began to roll out a major expansion of San Francisco's bikeshare network that will culminate in 320 stations and 4,500 bikes, ultimately covering approximately half the city—all at no capital or operational expense to taxpayers. The expanded, now privately-held regional system has been re-branded with all-new equipment as Ford GoBike and the number of bikes will increase from 700 to 7,000 in five cities as service is introduced to the East Bay and increased dramatically in San Francisco and San Jose.
In 2017, as independent stationless bikeshare emerged as a big new trend, we were among the first U.S. cities to create a regulatory and permitting framework to address this fast-moving phenomenon and insure that bikeshare in all its forms is safe, orderly and equitable for all San Franciscans.
Equity is a key component of the SFMTA’s approach to bikeshare. A requirement for at least 20% of stations to be located in low-income communities promotes equitable distribution of service. And the Bikeshare for All subsidized membership program makes membership accessible to low-come individuals. Anyone who qualifies for a Muni Lifeline Pass, Calfresh or PG&E’s CARE utility program can sign up for the one-time $5 annual affordability membership. Cash payment is accepted, so a credit card is not required, and the Bikeshare for All membership includes trips up to a full hour without redocking. After the first year, low-income members pay $5 per month.
Who and what is bikeshare intended for?
Basically it’s for anyone who wants or needs to make a short trip by bike. Bikeshare is great for stand-alone trips and is often the quickest, most affordable way to get around. It’s also ideal as a first- and last-mile option for longer trips by transit, which is why GoBike’s highest use stations are near regional transit connections. GoBike pricing is structured to encourage short trips, and we’ve found that because it’s such a useful transportation option for the busiest travel times, mainly Bay Area residents and commuters are using GoBike, although it’s also popular with tourists who are looking for a shorter, more flexible bike rental. It may be surprising, but many bikeshare members have their own bikes. A survey of Bay Area Bikeshare members found that 75% of members owned one or more bicycle.
System Planning and Station Siting
You may have noticed the solar-powered, automated bikeshare stations on San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks and wondered, “Why is this here?”
Experience from other cities in Europe and North America has shown that to maximize utility and customer satisfaction, bikeshare stations should be spaced on average every 2 to 3 blocks throughout the service area so that stations are within an easy five-minute walk of one another.
Factors considered when determining ideal locations for stations within the service area include topography, job density, transit connections, bike rack requests, proximity to the bikeway network and general support of station neighbors. Station locations are prioritized to complement regional transportation connections like BART, Caltrain, ferries and the Transbay Terminal. The locations also provide convenient options for residents, commuters and visitors making short trips to and from these facilities, to places of employment and residences, and to social and recreational destinations.
Bay Area Bike Share Pilot
The SFMTA, in partnership with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), brought Bay Area Bike Share (BABS) to San Francisco in August 2013 with 350 bikes and 35 stations. After four successful years as a small-scale proof-of-concept, the service shut down on June 11, 2017 in preparation for a major expansion and rebranding as Ford GoBike. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission commissioned an evaluation of the BABS pilot, available here. The SFMTA’s online bikeshare dashboard displays detailed ride data from the pilot, and will be updated as expansion numbers become available.
In June 2017, the SFMTA finalized a permit application for stationless bicycle sharing programs. In January 2018, San Francisco’s first permit to operate a stationless bikeshare service was issued to JUMP Bikes, a stationless electric-assist bikeshare service.
The JUMP permit allows for a pilot program of up to 250 stationless electric bikes in San Francisco, with the potential to add an additional 250 stationless electric bikes after nine months at the SFMTA’s discretion. During the 18-month pilot period, the SFMTA will not be issuing any other stationless bike share permits, and following the pilot the SFMTA will evaluate how stationless bike share has worked in San Francisco and develop further policy recommendations based on the experience here and in peer cities. More information is available in a January 2017 blog post on the SFMTA’s website.
Questions about the permit may be directed to the SFMTA’s Bicycle Sharing Program Manager Heath Maddox (415) 701-4605 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions or operational complaints about the JUMP service such as broken, stolen, abandoned or mis-parked bikes should be directed to JUMP: Support@jumpbikes.com