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San Diego’s Bike Sharing Program Delayed Yet Again

Above: Two Chicago residents check out a bike at one of the city's bike sharing locations.

Aired 9/1/14 on KPBS News.

San Diego's bike sharing program has been bumped back repeatedly. Its start date was pushed from March to May to August and now to October.

San Diego's bike sharing program was supposed to start between January and March of this year.

Then it was delayed to May, then delayed again to the end of the summer.

Now it's been delayed yet again. Bill Harris, a spokesman for the city, said bike stations will be installed this month, and the program will be up and running by the end of October.

The program lets people rent a bike from a checkout station, ride it wherever they please and then return it to any other station. Costs range from $7 an hour or $15 a day for a bike to between $20 and $30 a month for an unlimited membership.

Harris said it took longer than expected to work with communities on where to put the bike rental stations.

"There's a lot of community input, fine tuning, really," he said. "Really no problems, just they had druthers about some of the spaces rather than the ones that were proposed."

In July 2013, the City Council approved a 10-year partnership with the private company DecoBike to supply bikes and set up checkout stations. DecoBike will pay $7.2 million for the bikes and stations and will give the city a chunk of its profits — between $1 million and $2.6 million over 10 years.

At the end of April, DecoBike posted a proposed map of stations on its website and said it would post a final map in a few weeks. That map didn't come, and now the proposed map has been taken off the website.

The proposed map showed stations throughout downtown, Pacific Beach, La Jolla, Hillcrest and North Park, as well as San Ysidro. Harris now says the first phase will only include downtown and its immediately surrounding areas, and that Pacific Beach and La Jolla stations have been "pushed back to another phase." He said a new station location guide will be posted "in the next week or so" that will outline where all of the stations will be.

Harris said the program is "progressing nicely at this point."

"DecoBike has really stepped up the pace, they've acquired a building down on Pacific Highway where they're going to be doing their staging," he said. "We're very enthused about it coming, it's taken awhile of course to iron out all of the details, but it's worked out pretty well at this point. We're happy to see all of the progress, and we'll be very happy to see those first few stations going in."

Harris said "in the next few weeks" an example of a bike rental station will be installed in Civic Center Plaza.

In January, Jennifer Kearns, the city of San Diego's marketing manager for corporate partnerships, made the same promise. She said that example station would be installed in February.

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