Getting around San Francisco just got a little easier with the launch of the Bay Area Bike Share pilot program in San Francisco, Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Jose.
The Bay Area Bike Share pilot is a part of the MTC's Initiatives Program and the Air District's Transportation Fund for Clean Air program, which tests innovative projects for their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. The Air District initiated this effort in 2010 and has contributed $2.8 million to launch this project. Touted as a "last mile solution", the goal of the bike sharing pilot program is to make it more convenient for Bay Area residents to take public transit without taking their own bike on the system, and then use bike share bicycles to reach their final destination resulting in reduced air pollution in the areas served.
The cost of the full pilot totals $11.2 million, and is funded using Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality ($7.1 million), Transportation Fund for Clean Air ($2.8 million) and other local funds ($1.3 million). The program is managed by the Air District in partnership with MTC and local partners.
Membership rates to join Bay Area Bike Share are $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. Trips that exceed 30 minutes will incur surcharges. Annual memberships are available for sale at www.bayareabikeshare.com.
The pilot will launch in two phases. The first phase is deployed August 29 with 700 bikes. For the second phase of the pilot, it is anticipated that 300 additional bikes and 30 kiosks will be added in the first quarter 2014 to reach the full pilot complement of 1,000 bikes and 100 stations.
The kiosk stations are located near transit hubs, high-density residential areas and key destination points such as employment centers and universities, making it easier to quickly and conveniently connect to and from transit and to make short-distance trips by bike. Bike sharing will also help to reduce the need to take bikes on board regional and local transit – relieving congestion on those systems.
In addition to the Air District and MTC, the pilot project is a partnership among local government agencies including the City and County of San Francisco, SamTrans, Caltrain, the County of San Mateo, the City of Redwood City and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.
In the Bay Area, the transportation sector accounts for more than 50 percent of overall air pollution. Significant emission reductions from the transportation sector will help the Bay Area attain and maintain state and national air quality standards and reduce greenhouse gases.