Bike share program to expand to Berkeley, other East Bay cities

Kayla Baskevitch/Staff

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With a new city bike share program rolling out this spring, Bay Area Bike Share held a public workshop Monday evening to ask for community feedback and present information on the proposed locations for bike stations around Berkeley.

Approved by City Council on Jan. 19, the five-year bike share program will be a membership-based system that allows members to check out bicycles at any time. Launched in 2013, the program is designed for short, quick trips within a network of automated stations across cities.

Held at the YMCA-PG&E Teen Center, more than 40 people attended the workshop that was co-sponsored by council members Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguin.

Bay Area Bike Share began in 2013 with 70 stations and 700 bikes spread across San Francisco, Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Jose.

After a two-year pilot, Motivate — which operates the program in a partnership with transportation authorities and Bay Area citiesentered into an agreement with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to increase the number of bikes to 7,000 and expand into Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville.

“It has been a huge success in other cities across the country,” Arreguin said. “Given Berkeley’s high rate of walking and biking, I think it will be equally successful, making it easier for people to get to their destinations without driving.”

Over the next two years, Berkeley will receive 400 bikes and 37 stations through a multi-phase plan that is set to be completed in 2018. Bike stations are expected to be built by the end of phase one in Downtown Berkeley, Southside Berkeley and at the Ashby BART station, with connections to Emeryville and Oakland.

The proposed bike station locations were based on feedback from an online tool shared to the public in May.

“I like Bay Area Bike Share because it breaks down barriers to bicycling for people who don’t own a bike,” said Cynthia Armour, project manager at Bike East Bay. “There’s a sense of community with bike share.”

According to a city press release, the annual bike share pass will be $15 per month or $149 per year and includes unlimited 30-minute trips. Reduced bike passes are also available for low-income residents who qualify for the PG&E California Alternate Rates for Energy program at $5 a month.

“It’s pretty exciting to have so many bikes available and at a relatively affordable price. … Many of the locations will be very close to campus,” Worthington said.

Phase one — which accounts for 25 percent of the total intended number of stations for Berkeley — is set to be fully implemented in the fall, with the first rollout of bike stations and bicycles beginning in the coming months.

Contact Sujin Shin at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sujinjshin.