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Santa Monica “Breeze” Poised to Become Part of Larger Integrated Bike Share System


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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

November 13, 2017 -- When it started in 2015, the City of Santa Monica’s bike-share rental system, “Breeze,” was the first of its kind in a metro area trying to convince a car-addicted populace to instead pedal around town.

Now, as Breeze celebrates its 2nd birthday, the City is poised to integrate its 500 bright-green “smart” bikes into a sub-regional system.

In doing so, riders could rent bikes throughout the system and pedal seamlessly between Santa Monica, UCLA, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, officials said.

An item on the Santa Monica City Council’s agenda Tuesday proposes it sign a five-year agreement to form the larger bike-share network with the two other cities and UCLA, with an option to extend.

“Once implemented, the sub-regional bike share system will allow users to travel between systems with their one existing account,” said Kyle Kozar, the City’s Bike Share Coordinator.

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The system will include more than 139 stations with a total of 830 bikes throughout the Westside, he said.

“With one account, users will be able to travel farther throughout the Westside and not have to worry about out-of-system-area fees or extra sign-up processes,” Kozar said.

According to the City of Santa Monica, Breeze -- which totaled about $10 million to start -- has 79,000 subscribers now. It is also now in the black, after running a deficit, generating needed revenue from rentals and its sponsorship with Hulu.

The Regional Bike Share Memorandum of Understanding before the council enables the four systems to operate in practical terms as one larger system, a report to the council said.

Although the bikes will move in and out of the various systems, each operator will ensure the bikes “are balanced back” to their home base in a timely fashion, the report said.

It said the other partners have agreed to the MOU, which will not incur additional costs.

A year after the November 12, 2015, launch Breeze, the cities of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, and UCLA started operating their own systems.

Last year, Santa Monica into an agreement with the City of Los Angeles to install and operate five Breeze Bike Share stations in the Venice neighborhood, and up to 15 additional stations elsewhere in L.A.

Breeze ‘s Venice stations were installed in the summer of 2016.


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