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LA's Huge Bike Share Program Seeking Fortune 500 Sponsor

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As New York's recently-opened bike share system gets on its feet, congested and temperate LA still lacks a regionwide system of easy bike rentals. Derek Fretheim, the COO of Bike Nation, the operator of the city's huge future system, tells Curbed the system is right now navigating its way through government's red tape. Fretheim is wary of giving any dates for the bike share's grand opening--or even for the installation of kiosks--but applauds the city of Los Angeles, which he says created a permit process for the bike share in 11 months, compared to New York's three years (of course, NYC started earlier than we did). So, as they wait for permit approval, Fretheim says his company is in discussion with several Fortune 500 companies to sponsor a regionwide bike share, a la Citibank with NY's Citi Bike. Getting a corporate sponsor would help fund the expensive system (Bike Nation is already investing around $16 million) and would definitely speed the process along.

Responding to concerns brought up on BikeShare.com regarding a conflict between LA's contract with CBS/Decaux, which allows advertising (i.e. billboards) on "street furniture," and any advertising on the share's bikes and kiosks, Fretheim says it shouldn't be a problem as bike shares are not "street furniture," but rather part of a transportation network. He does admit his company is working on convincing everyone in City Hall and at CBS that that's the case, but says BikeShare.com is run by a competitor, so take its report with a grain of salt.

There's also the matter of navigating the governments of independent cities like West Hollywood, Culver City, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica. While the LA bike share's first 400 kiosks and 4,000 bikes will be in LA-proper sites in areas like DTLA, Hollywood, Westwood, and Venice Beach, Bike Share has already had conversations with the four cities above to get the ball rolling on implementation.
· First Permits for Bike Share Kiosks Could Be Filed Soon [Curbed LA]