The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all transportation in the city, announced the opening of Bay Area Bike Share, a regional pilot bike sharing program that today launched 350 bikes and 35 stations in San Francisco as part of a 700 bike and 70 station regional unveiling. Mayor Edwin M. Lee was joined by regional Bay Area partners today at San Francisco’s Caltrain station at 4th and King streets, where a 19-dock, solar-powered bike share station was activated, officially starting the Bay Area Bike Share system.
“Over the past five years, we have taken great strides towards making San Francisco one of the best cities for bicycling and today we reach a new milestone as we launch Bay Area Bike Share,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “There is no better time for bike sharing in San Francisco, and we know that Bay Area Bike Share will be an integral part in introducing more people to the joy of bicycling in San Francisco and throughout the entire Bay Area.”
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 fun, convenient and affordable transportation alternative that helps to overcome obstacles to 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.
“San Francisco is ready for bike sharing and we have been working toward this launch day for the past four years,” said Tom Nolan, Chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “Bay Area Bike Share is a San Francisco Bay Area legacy project and this initial rollout is the first step in our agency’s efforts to expand bike sharing in San Francisco.”
“Bay Area Bike Share is more than just a bike program, it’s really San Francisco’s newest transportation option,” said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “This program is bringing to San Francisco a new, dynamic and flexible way of getting around the city and we look forward to working closely with our city’s residents, businesses and visitors to make Bay Area Bike Share a true success.”
Bay Area Bike Share bikes are extremely robust, commuter-style bikes built to withstand constant use and resist theft. The uniquely one-size-fits-all designed bikes are comfortable for all users and feature seven speeds, upright handlebars, wide seats, hand brakes, a front basket and a chain guard to protect clothing. Headlights and taillights illuminate automatically when the bike is pedaled.
The bikes and stations also have cardinal rules of the road printed on them: Ride with traffic; Walk bikes on sidewalk; Obey traffic signals and signs; Yield to pedestrians. While helmet use is not legally required for adults riding bikes, it is encouraged for Bay Area Bike Share riders.
"We are excited to support the launch of bike share in San Francisco by providing special bike safety classes for people who use bike share as part of our robust bike safety education program," says Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Register for classes at bayareabikeshare.com or sfbike.org/edu.
Membership rates to join Bay Area Bike Share will be $88 for an annual pass, $22 for a three-day pass and $9 for a daily pass. Each pass provides for unlimited trips during the membership period, with no additional cost for the first 30 minutes of each trip. Membership can be purchased at www.bayareabikeshare.com/membership.
This pilot program is brought to the region through a multi-agency public partnership including the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, County of San Mateo, Redwood City, Caltrain, San Mateo County Transit or SamTrans, the Valley Transportation Authority, City and County of San Francisco, and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. The cost of the full pilot totals $11.2 million, and is funded using Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funds ($7.1 million), money from the Transportation Fund for Clean Air ($2.8 million) and other local funds ($1.3 million).