New York and San Francisco have it. Now, Los Angeles does too.
L.A. County’s first bike sharing program, officially called Breeze Bike Share, launched in Santa Monica Thursday. Riders who signed up online or through the Social Bicycles app get to take a bike out for a free spin for the day.
The launch followed a successful pilot test over the summer, according to Kyle Kozar, a bike share coordinator for the city of Santa Monica.
Kozar said that the program is ideal as a last-mile mode of transportation, whether riders are coming from buses or the new Expo line extension that's about to launch. "The idea is that it's a hop-on-hop-off system that people use for smaller commuting trips," he said.
Besides residents, the city hopes that the program would also benefit tourists and workers who come from other parts of the county.
"We're rolling it out into a cityscape that is well built to accommodate more cyclists," Kozar said. "So I think a lot of the projects that have been put in recent years and that will continue to be expanded into the future will perfectly accommodate, complement the bike share system."
Planning on trying it? Here’s what you need to know.
Download the Social Bicycles app on your phone.
Select the Breeze Bike Share Santa Monica network and pick one of the following plans:
- Founding Member ($99): Available until the last day of this year, this gives you one hour of daily riding time for a year.
- Monthly Basic ($20/month): 30 minutes of daily riding time
- Monthly Plus ($25/month): 60 minutes of daily riding time
- Pay-as-you-go ($6/hour)
Anything over a plan's set daily riding time will be charged 10 cents per minute or $6 an hour, and there are no rollover credits. If you're a student at Santa Monica College, you can buy a $47-per-six-month plan. After Jan. 1, 2016, Santa Monica residents will be eligible for an annual rate of $79 (30 minutes of daily riding time) and $99 (60 minutes of daily riding time). Click here for more info.
There are 500 bicycles at 75 stations throughout Santa Monica. Plan your route then reserve a bike at your desired station. Enter your code on the bike's keypad, then pull out the yellow lock bar and place it on the holster. (The bikes don't come with helmets, so bringing your own is highly encouraged.)
See the full interactive map of Breeze Bike Share locations here.
Adjust the saddle and check the brakes. For quick stops, hit the "hold" button by the keypad and lock the bike to any bike rack so no other rider can book the bike. To unlock, enter your pin code.
Return the bike to any Breeze Bike station in Santa Monica. If it's full, you can lock the bike to a rack within 100 feet of the station. You can also secure the bike to any other public bike rack for an extra $2 fee. If you go outside city limits, you can lock the bike to a public bike rack for a $20 fee.
Before leaving, check the screen on the bike for a return confirmation.
Questions? The program's hotline is (310) 458-8341.