Bicycle sharing has been talked about so much in the last few years that you would think there are systems up and running in a number of California cities -- except the one where you live, of course. While there are a handful of programs in the state, they are mostly found on college campuses or in hybrid forms, not on city streets like in Boston and Washington D.C.
But this week Anaheim will become the first city with a bike sharing system in the state.
Bicycle sharing, in its most traditional sense, consists of self-service rental kiosks strategically placed around a city's urban core with bikes available for short-distance trips. Programs are often cited in creating connectivity between destinations, such as a train station and a downtown district a few miles apart. Bikes can be automatically checked out with a credit or membership card and be returned to a different station near the user's destination. Prices are meant to encourage short-term commutes, not day-long joy rides.
Anaheim's one-year pilot program with Tustin-based Bike Nation will host 10 bikes at 10 sites, including at the Metrolink/Amtrak train station (where Angel Stadium is also located), convention center, City Hall, and the Anaheim Resort district near Disneyland. The first kiosk will be unveiled on Saturday in downtown (Harbor and Lincoln) near Center Street Promenade at 10 a.m. The remaining sites will open shortly after -- "It could be a week or two" -- said city of Anaheim spokesperson, Ruth Ruiz.
Bike Nation membership, which can be purchased for as low as $6 for a day or up to $75 for a year, is required before customers can check out bikes, and there will be costs on top of that: free for the first 30 minutes, $1.50 for up to 60 minutes, $4.50 up to 90 minutes, and then $6 every additional half hour. "The usage fees for the bicycle share system are incentivized for turnover and trips of less than 30 minutes in duration," explained a city press release, which also says the program will run at no cost to the taxpayer.
Anaheim will not be the only city with this kind of bike sharing program for long. The Orange County Transportation Authority is working on one in neighboring Fullerton and a program is slated for San Francisco and the Bay Area within several months. Los Angeles, which is also partnering with Bike Nation, is expected to launch its own program later this year.
Bicycle sharing, but in a limited capacity and not on a city or regional level, can currently be found on the campuses of UC Irvine and San Diego; Fresno State; and Cal Poly Pomona and nearby Pitzer College. Bicycle "libraries" exist at UCLA, UC Davis, and Arcata. And different kinds of bicycle sharing -- but not in the traditional sense -- can be found at the Santa Monica Bike Center and a handful of Bikestation locations around the state, including Long Beach and Santa Barbara.
For the record: Last paragraph edited for clarity.