The first batch of bikes has arrived of what will soon be 1,000 bikes in 65 share stations across much of the area in Downtown Los Angeles as a way to give people more transportation options and alleviate traffic in DTLA.
People can go to bikeshare.metro.net and sign up for a pass. Riders head to any of the stations in downtown and can ride a bike from point A to point B within a 30-minute window.
How you might be able to use one of these bicycles.: Alleviate traffic congestion. Metro.net/bikeshare. Get one of 2 passes available. Very affordable $20 unlimited 30 minute trips or just pay for one trip. Another mode of transportation to get around the city. Great alternate to driving, and for trips that are too far to talk and to close to drive.
The first bike-share system in Los Angeles has just launched, marking the end of a years-long push to join the ranks of dozens of other cities across the world that have similar programs available for commuters and tourists.
Transportation officials have hailed the arrival of bicycle sharing as a sure sign that things are improving in car-choked Los Angeles. “The car capital of the world is being redefined to embrace new modes of transportation,” Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said.
Bike-share is a short-term rental program that allows users to pick up a bicycle at one station and return it to any other station in the system. It is designed for short, point-to-point trips. It also aims to bridge the so-called “first mile, last mile” gaps between transit stations and destinations.
The stations are available only in downtown Los Angeles. Many are near key destinations, including Union Station, Grand Central Market, Staples Center and the 7th Street/Metro Center station. There will eventually be 65 bike-share stations, but some won’t be open right away because of installation delays caused by construction downtown, Metro said.
For those who have already purchased a pass, they can ride as much as they’d like. People who don’t want to buy a pass can start riding Aug. 1. Riders can use their Metro fare cards to unlock a bicycle from the docking stations (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times). Use Metro’s online bike map or app (available on iOS and Android) to see which station is closest.
Purchased a pass, walk up to the docking area, touch the silver button next to a bike, scan your Metro TAP card, and pull out the bike. The fare will automatically be deducted. Those who don’t want to commit to a pass can pay per ride with a credit card at the attached rental kiosk. Riders without a pass will pay $3.50 for the first half-hour and $3.50 for each half-hour after that. Those who plan to use the system more regularly can buy a pass on Metro’s website. The two pass options are: A $40 annual fee, which reduces the cost of each half-hour riding period to $1.75. A $20-per-month fee, which includes unlimited free trips shorter than 30 minutes. At $3.50, a half-hour ride will cost twice as much as a one-way ticket on Metro. But for pass holders, the $1.75 per-trip price “matches the transit fare, and our transit fares are low,” Sotero said. Until Oct. 1, the normal $3.50 price for a half-hour ride will be discounted to $1.75. Metro will waive the fee for the $40 annual pass for low-income riders whose households qualify for the rider relief discount program, Metro deputy executive officer Laura Cornejo said.
The agency is also working to upgrade its digital fare payment system to allow discounts for students, seniors and the disabled.
Metro had considered allowing free transfers between buses, trains and bikes — essentially, integrating bike-share into L.A. County’s public transit network — but that feature won’t be available for at least a year.
Santa Monica has a bike-share system that opened last year, but it isn’t compatible with L.A.’s. That means you’ll keep racking up charges until you return the bike downtown.
Long Beach, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and UCLA have all selected the same vendor as Santa Monica, which means those systems will be compatible with each other, but not with Metro’s.
The bikes weigh 40 pounds and aren’t designed for that. Officials recommend dropping off the bike before boarding a Metro train.
To return a bike, wheel the bike into any available docking space. Wait for the light to flash green, and listen for three beeps. If the slots are full, there are about twice as many slots as bikes, so you mostly won’t have trouble finding a space. If you do, you can extend your trip by 15 minutes for free and move to the next-closest station.
If the bike gets stolen, then file a police report and call Metro’s bike-share customer service line: (844) 857-BIKE.
Metro plans to expand the system to Pasadena next year, and then to possible future sites in Hollywood, Venice Beach and East Los Angeles.
More Los Angeles bicycle information at http://la.curbed.com/bicycles
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