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Over one week old, LA County's bike share program rolling along

Metro launched its bike-share pilot program July 7 in downtown Los Angeles with 1,000 bikes docked at 65 locations.
Metro launched its bike-share pilot program July 7 in downtown Los Angeles with 1,000 bikes docked at 65 locations.
LA Metro

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The biggest bike sharing system in Los Angeles County has now been up and rolling for more than a week, with over 1,600 people buying monthly or annual passes for use in downtown where the program kicked off.

The passes allow users to check out a bike at one location, ride a short distance and then drop it off elsewhere. About a thousand bikes are available for rent at 65 locations from Chinatown to Washington Boulevard.

Dave Sotero, spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said the transit agency expects the rider numbers to grow larger after Aug. 1, when users can check out the bikes without buying a long-term pass:

"Our hope is that as we move forward in the program and as we implement bike sharing throughout the county, more people will be open to trying bike sharing and see that it really does solve some of those short-distance challenges," Sotero said.

To make the bikes more accessible to low-income communities, Metro is handing out 40,000 coupons for annual flex passes, which give users unlimited rides for $1.75 – the usual cost of a Metro fare.

The one-time use of a bike without a pass will cost $3.50 for 30 minutes and the system does require a credit card to sign up.

The $11 million pilot program will eventually be expanded to Pasadena, North Hollywood, Burbank, Huntington Park, Venice, Marina Del Rey, East L.A. as well as other L.A. county communities.

Santa Monica, Long Beach and West Hollywood initiated bike programs before Metro chose its bike system, so those cities use different kinds of bicycles with different docking systems.

Metro said it hopes to create a unified payment system for all the programs using the TAP card, which can currently be used to pay for the downtown bikes.