Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica Officials Release Early Bike Share Ridership Numbers|
By Niki Cervantes
December 3, 2015 -- The City of Santa Monica’s $10 million-plus bike share program, the first of its kind in Los Angeles County, has logged in 2,218 renters since its rollout in August, a far cry from the total the system is hoped to attract but a big enough number to please City officials.
Renters of the City’s “Breeze” bikes completed 8,760 trips during that time and traveled a total of 17,887 miles -- the approximate equivalent of three round trips from Santa Monica to New York City, said Carrie Lujan, a City spokesperson.
On Black Friday, 130 new renters used Breeze bikes, taking 405 trips that equaled 1,087 miles traveled, she said.
In all, renters of the Breeze system’s bright-green “smart” bikes logged more than 3,900 hours of ride time, officials said.
“We are encouraged by the early numbers, which show the system is off to a great start,” said Ron Durgin, the Southern California Regional Manager for Cyclehop,LLC, the company that holds the City’s $10 million-plus contract to operate Breeze.
Mayor Kevin McKeown said the early figures showed “Santa Monicans are embracing Breeze Bike Share as an easy way to get around town, especially during this busy holiday season.”
The statistics, posted by the City on its website on Wednesday, sum up Breeze rentals from August, when it started to phase in operations with 31 bikes available at seven hubs across the city, through November 12, the official start date for the entire 500-bicycle fleet at 75 docking stations citywide, plus four in Venice.
City planning officials hope Los Angeles County's first bike share program will reach roughly 370,000 trips.
User fees range from a pay-as-you-go cost of $6 an hour to $20-a-month or $119-a-year memberships. Santa Monica College students can get $47 passes that last six months as well.
Those fees will account for only about $1.26 million, falling far short of the programs overall cost, according to a 2014 report by City staff.
Start-up funding came from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Metro and Caltrans, plus an $675,000 sponsorship for five years from Hulu, the internet entertainment service based in Santa Monica.
The idea behind Breeze is to sharply reduce the traffic that plagues parts of the city. Santa Monica’s official population was 89,736, in the 2010 U.S. Census but that swells to 250,000 or more during the day due to an influx of employees, tourists and shoppers.
Congestion is expected to worsen considerably this spring with the arrival of Expo Light Rail downtown.
It isn't clear yet which segment of the City' population is using Breeze, Lujan said. Since reaching full strength in November, however, the most popular Breeze station was at Ocean Avenue and Colorado Street above the Santa Monica Pier, a popular tourist destination.
The second most used station was at Ocean Avenue and Olympic Drive near Tongva Park at the Civic Center, she said.
Breeze is being closely watched by the region’s leaders because it is the first such program in the County.
Los Angeles’s bike share system is scheduled to launch next spring, and expects to roll out 1,100 bikes at 65 stations downtown. Long Beach is also close to starting its own program, with cities like Pasadena expected to follow suit according to news sources.
At this point, the City is measuring its Bike Share program's success in ways that don’t exactly relate to the City’s budget or the program’s big public price tag.
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