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Downtown locations for LA bike sharing program include Union Station

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Los Angeles’ first bike-sharing program is set to launch in the downtown area in April 2013.

The Southern California-based company Bike Nation made the announcement Thursday at a Boys and Girls Club where executives gave away bikes and helmets to underprivileged kids. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and L.A. Clippers Forward Caron Butler attended the event.

Here are the initial bike station locations for the downtown L.A. area:

  • Union Station
  • El Pueblo/ Olvera Street
  • City Hall (2)
  • Caltrans Building (2)
  • County Hall of Administration Building
  • LAPD headquarters (2)

The company’s founder, Navin Narang, explained how the program will work.

“If you have a credit card or a Bike Nation membership,which you can sign on for online. There’ll be various kiosks throughout the city,” Narang said. "You'll be able to swipe your credit card and you’ll be off with a bike in a matter of minutes and you can return that bike to any other Bike Nation kiosk anywhere in the city and with some of the neighboring cities as well Long Beach.”

Under the plan, cyclists will be able to rent bikes for $6 a day, or $1.50 for an hour, or $4.50 for 90 minutes. Discounts will be offered for three-day ($12), weekly ($25), monthly ($35), yearly ($75) and yearly student/ senior rentals ($50). Trips shorter than 30 minutes will be free.

The company will roll out the program over the next two years and eventually install 400 kiosks with 4,000 rental bikes across L.A.

Bike Nation has already installed several stations in Anaheim. That city’s bike sharing program is scheduled to open to the public in early January. Next year, the company also plans to launch bike share programs in Long Beach and Fullerton.  Executives are also in talks with West Hollywood and Culver City.

“We’re hopeful that they’ll (West Hollywood and Culver City) be excited about our offer and that they’ll accept it, and that we’ll be able to expand bike sharing into both of those cities, which will then allow connectivity to what we plan to do in other areas,” Narang said.

In the end, motivating people to get out of their cars and onto bikes is the the whole premise of Bike Nation, he added.

“If you really look at bike sharing as a whole,” he explained, “it’s an opportunity to kind of change the landscape of how we get around in not only in Southern California, but in the nation.”

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