Santa Monica gets a bike share program! #santamonica pic.twitter.com/NMnKAFZaQb— Tom Dare (@tomdare) August 18, 2015
A fleet of bright green rental bikes are rolling through Santa Monica's streets starting this week. The first wave of Santa Monica's Breeze bike share program makes 31 bikes available at seven bike hubs located on or near "major bikes routes" throughout the city, says Santa Monica Next. This preliminary stage of the program—LA County's first public bike share—started August 13 and will run until September 13; there are about 80 test riders signed up already. (Operator Cyclehop is taking new members until the end of this month.)
This pilot phase will be followed by a full-system roll-out of 500 bikes at 80 hubs, scheduled for November. These bikes already on the street are no different than the ones that will populate future hubs—they're considered "smart bikes," meaning they have all the tech on them that alerts the bike share company's electric collection car to their location, so they don't need to be returned to a bike hub or special docking station. The car rounds them up and returns them to the hubs.
These smart bikes are different from the bike share bikes Los Angeles is considering for its program—those will have to be returned to a hub—meaning the two systems won't be compatible (you won't be able to pick up a bike in SaMo and drop it in Downtown LA). LA's bike share system is supposed to launch in spring 2016 "with nearly 1,100 bikes at 65 stations throughout Downtown L.A." Long Beach is also close to launching a program.
The locations of the seven test hubs, via Santa Monica Next:
· Eyes on the Street: Santa Monica's Breeze Bike-Share Starts Test [SMN]
· Take a First Glimpse at Los Angeles's New Bike Share System [Curbed LA]