Mayor Newsom Announces San Francisco Bike Sharing Pilot Program
01/27/09 - Mayor Gavin Newsom today used his visit to the successful bike sharing network in Paris to announce that San Francisco will implement a bike sharing pilot program in 2009. San Francisco's bike sharing program is intended to build on the recognition of San Francisco as a gold-level bicycle friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists-the largest United States city to receive such an honor.
"Bike sharing will help connect thousands of residents and commuters to their workplaces and shopping destinations by providing bikes that they can easily borrow," said Mayor Newsom. "This bike sharing pilot project will allow us to test and perfect the bikes and technology that will be used in our citywide network."
The pilot program will include 50 bikes located at five stations on non-city property (as required by a Court injunction until environmental review of the City's Bicycle Plan is complete). Each station will have either nine or 12 bikes and will provide approximately 50 percent more bicycle parking slots to help ensure proper distribution between available bikes and open, available drop-off spots. The stations will be in the Financial District, Mission Bay, the Presidio, Civic Center and the City College campus.
Bike sharing customers will sign-up through an online registration system linked to the website of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which manages the City's Bicycle Program. Registration will require a valid credit card to charge an annual user fee, hourly fees, and to provide security for lost bikes (which will be the responsibility of the user). A subscription will provide members access to all rental stations and the use of a bike for a limited period of time per day.
"We are committed to the vision of increasing bicycling in San Francisco through innovative programs like bike sharing," said SFMTA Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr.
According to the 2007 Census update, 2.7 percent of San Franciscans commute via bicycle compared to an average of 0.5 percent in the United States and 0.9 percent in California. The SFMTA's 2007-2008 Bicycle Count found a 25 percent increase in bicycling over the previous year, and a 2008 survey showed that fully 6 percent of all trips in San Francisco are made by bicycle.
The start-up costs for the pilot program are estimated to be between $400,000 and $500,000, while the annual operating costs are projected to be $450,000. As provided for in the SFMTA's Transit Shelter Advertising Contract with Clear Channel, these costs are for Clear Channel to staff the pilot program and have responsibility for installation and maintenance.
Today in Paris, Mayor Newsom received a briefing on the history, organization and success of the "Velib" or bicycle share program in Paris, and toured the repair, design and showroom facilities along with the research and development facility. The "Velib" program was introduced by Mayor Bertrand Delanoe as a way to reduce traffic and environmental degradation in Paris by having a shared bicycle program encompass the entire city. Today Paris has over 20,000 bicycles as part of the "Velib" program and it has proven to be very popular and successful.