First San Diego Bike Share Stations Open For Business
After more than a year of delays, San Diego's first 20 bike share stations opened for business on Friday. Sixty more stations will be opened over the next two weeks, and all 180 stations are expected to be operational in the next two months, according to DecoBike, the Florida-based company that runs San Diego's bike share program.
To Use Bike Share
•If you aren't a member of DecoBike, touch the screen on the kiosk.
•Swipe your credit card.
•Enter your bike number, which is located next to the bike's seat.
•Choose the amount of time.
•Remove the bike from the dock.
To return a bike wheel it up to the dock and push it in.
The company had said 80 stations would be opened in January. David Silverman, the vice president of operations for DecoBike, said they decided to open 20 stations on Jan. 30 even though the full 80 aren't yet ready.
"A lot of people were excited, so we felt that it was really important to get the bikes out as soon as possible," he said.
The open stations are centered in the Gaslamp Quarter. Each station has 16 docks for bikes and eight bikes, so there's room for people to return bikes, Silverman said.
He said work trucks will be used to move bikes during the day if one station gets full and another is left empty. The company is planning a mobile app that will tell riders which stations are open and have bikes, but Silverman said it won't be ready for a month.
Bike share users can buy monthly memberships for $20 a month, which gives you unlimited access to the bikes for 30 minutes or less. If you keep one bike for longer than 30 minutes, you will be charged $5 for every 30 minutes.
You can also buy a monthly membership for $30, which lets you keep the same bike for up to an hour without extra charges.
These memberships require a three-month commitment. You can also buy a one-month membership for $50, or pay $5 for 30 minutes; $7 for an hour; or $15 for a day without a membership.
Members are given a key pod that they can hold up to the bike dock to release the bike. Non-members pay for bikes at a kiosk using a credit card.
Silverman said the bike share program is meant to be used for short trips around the city.
"We think it's great for quick trips from Point A to Point B, that people don't want to take their car or don't want to use their bike so they don't have to worry about locking it up," he said. "For visitors who are here exploring the city and don't have a car, or didn't rent one, they can ride from one area of the city to the other."
When the city of San Diego approved a 10-year partnership with DecoBike in July 2013, the company said bike sharing would begin between January and March 2014. Then the program was delayed to May, then to August, then again to October.
Silverman said manufacturing and community outreach caused the delays.
"We've done pretty extensive community outreach and we're happy that we've overcome that obstacle," he said. "This is a very exciting day for us, that we finally got the bikes out."
The city's partnership with DecoBike means the city does not pay for bike sharing. DecoBike will pay $8 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.