Bike Sharing Still Not Rolling In San Diego
San Diego's bike sharing program was supposed to start between January and March of this year. Now it's December and there are still no bikes to be shared.
The program was first delayed until May, then again until August. At the end of the summer, city spokesman Bill Harris said, "station installation should start occurring toward the end of September, and the program should be up and running October 30."
While stations are popping up around the city, they don't yet have bikes available for rent. On Friday, Harris wouldn't answer questions about the delays. He told KPBS to call MJE Marketing, which represents DecoBike, the private company running the city's bike sharing program.
Through an MJE spokesman, DecoBike marketing manager David Silverman issued a statement that said so far 55 stations have been installed in San Diego.
“We plan to have all of the stations in downtown and uptown installed before activating the system (approx. 75-80 stations)," the statement said. "This should be completed by January 2015. DecoBike now has the most current station location map posted on the website and the membership drive is now live."
He added that the first 1,500 members to sign up will get a free bike helmet.
The program lets people rent a bike from a checkout station, ride it wherever they want and then return it to any 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. Its annual membership fee of $99 to $125 is more than other bike-sharing cities, including New York and San Francisco.
In July 2013, the City Council approved a 10-year partnership with 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 portion of its profits — from $1 million to $2.6 million over 10 years.
At the end of April, DecoBike posted a proposed map of stations on its website, which showed them throughout downtown, Pacific Beach, La Jolla, Hillcrest and North Park, as well as San Ysidro. That map was later taken down and replaced with a new map that showed stations only in downtown and its immediate surrounding areas. The DecoBike website's map currently shows only two stations in downtown.
Harris said in August that the Pacific Beach and La Jolla stations have been "pushed back to another phase." He said then that the program was delayed because 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."