Bringing Bikeshare to Los Angeles County

October 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Posted in Bike News | 1 Comment
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Bikeshare has been popular in several cities around the world including Chicago, where both residents and visitors use Divvy Bikes.

Bikeshare has been popular in several cities around the world including Chicago, where both residents and visitors began using Divvy Bikes this year.

This week, bikeshare is back on the agenda for Los Angeles County. LACBC participated in a meeting at the Westside Cities Council of Governments on Tuesday hosted by Assemblymember Richard Bloom and will be supporting a motion at Metro today by Mayor Garcetti and Directors Yaroslavsky, Knabe, Bonin, and O’Connor to coordinate a countywide bikeshare program. Streetsblog covered these developments on Tuesday. For over a year, LACBC chapters Santa Monica Spoke and the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition have been advocating for bikeshare in their respective communities. As a result of their efforts, Santa Monica stands to lead on the issue with a grant in hand to fund the launch of a system, while entrepreneurs are still seeking to bring privately funded bikeshare to West Hollywood. In the meantime, bikeshare in the City of LA has all but floundered.

In an effort to coordinate local efforts, Metro will now prepare an industry review and business case analysis for bikeshare in L.A. County, potentially resulting in a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to select a single countywide vendor. As local cities make progress and Metro decides whether to step into its natural role as a regional transportation agency, LACBC will continue to support whatever process results in a bikeshare system that serves L.A. County’s needs. We believe any system should adhere to the following principles:

  • Go Big. Bikeshare works best with concentrated deployments in areas with supportive infrastructure. Clusters of kiosks should be of sufficient density in targeted neighborhoods to enable convenient use, not distributed sparsely across a broad coverage area. Cities installing bikeshare kiosks should also provide adequate on-street bike infrastructure to enable safe bike travel with an emphasis on access to transit.
  • Bikeshare is a transit system. A countywide approach should ensure that the transit system is primarily designed to maximize transportation utility. A business case analysis should not deem an unprofitable system as unsuccessful if it meets a distinct transportation need cost-effectively. While advertising will likely be a significant revenue source for any system, it should not be a determining factor in the choice of kiosk locations or communities to be served.
  • Equity matters. A transit system also has the expectation of serving diverse populations equitably. The business case analysis must address how a bikeshare system can serve low-income communities in terms of both geographic deployment of kiosks and a fare structure that enables low-income households to participate. While not all communities can be served immediately, the system must be designed to reasonably serve low-income communities as it expands.
  • Seamless operation. To ensure countywide integration, a single hardware vendor should be selected so that the customer experience is seamless and all equipment interoperable. Local operators could be chosen for maintenance and rebalancing of the single vendor’s equipment.
  • Integrated fare structure. Fare systems should be integrated with other transit accounts such as TAP and Express Lanes for a unified customer experience in paying for multiple transportation options.

LACBC is encouraged by Metro’s involvement in this process. As the county’s transportation agency, Metro will play a key role in funding the infrastructure and education programs that complement bikeshare and are critical to its safe deployment. We look forward to working with Metro and local cities to ensure that these principles are incorporated into bikeshare operations in L.A. County.

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1 Comment »

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  1. It seems like this has been a success in New York so, let’s see what we can do out here on the West Coast.

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