Originally published November 16, 2012 at 3:04 p.m., updated November 16, 2012 at 4:47 p.m.
San Diego officials today announced that Miami-based DecoBike was selected as the operating partner for a proposed bikeshare program, expected to begin next year.
The system would provide bicycles for short city trips and would promote an affordable transportation alternative for both residents and visitors, according to the city officials.
"The bike share program is a perfect fit for the San Diego lifestyle, as it promotes healthy living and clean transportation,'' Mayor Jerry Sanders said. "It will also help facilitate travel to and from trolley and bus stations by providing last-mile solutions for commuters.''
City Councilman Kevin Faulconer pointed out the sunny November weather and said it's high time San Diego had bike share.
"We are a bicycle Mecca," said Faulconer. "And this new program is going to help so many people in all parts of the city."
The proposed program is expected to be the first in the region and one of the first in the nation to operate without the use of public funds.
City officials in September sought companies interested in partnering for a system encompassing downtown and the beach communities, but it could be extended to other areas. DecoBike, which operates the only privately funded large-scale program in the country, was chosen from three companies that submitted proposals.
The plan called for 1,800 bicycles and 180 stations. Once a contract is approved, the company and the city will engage community stakeholders to determine locations for stations, officials said.
"We are very excited to be entering into negotiations with the City of San Diego to implement and operate a public bicycle sharing program for all residents and visitors to enjoy as a fun, healthy and environmentally-friendly transportation alternative,'' DecoBike LLC President Ricardo Pierdant said.
Eric Engelman, a policy adviser to the mayor who is working on the DecoBike deal, said people using the bike share system will be able to rent bikes by the hour, or for about $8 a day.
"And there are also monthly options, at about $30 a month, and an annual option in the ballpark of about $100 a year," said Engelman, who added that prices have not been finalized.
The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition applauded the partnership and said the program would bring more jobs and more transportation options to San Diego.
"Whether it's tourists, students, Padres fans or grocery shoppers, we know that bike-sharing works to improve the local economy and expand our transportation system,'' SDCBC's executive director Andy Hanshaw said. "Bikes are boosting business in San Diego -- bike-sharing is another important piece of the pie.''