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LA's bike share ridership not as good as New York’s, but it's on the rise

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More than 55,400 rides in the first three months

In early July, Metro rolled out a bike share program in Downtown Los Angeles, allowing riders to rent and return bikes to a kiosk in over five dozen locations. Now, we’re getting a look at just how many people are using the system. The Los Angeles Times analyzed Metro data from the program's first three months and found bike share users took more than 55,400 rides on the black bicycles through the end of September. That comes out to about 73 trips per bike.

That’s pretty incredible. But compared to other cities, it’s not exactly robust. Chicago’s bike share saw twice as many rides as LA’s system in the first three months it was open. And in its first three months, New York’s bike share users took six times as many rides as LA users.

Metro officials aren’t unhappy with the numbers at all. They've pointed out that LA’s bike share opened in a different way, and to a different pool of riders, than programs in other cities have.

New York, for example, opened its bike share "in many neighborhoods at once," says the Times, and made bikes available to all users. Metro’s bike share program opened only in the greater Downtown area, and only riders with a monthly or yearly bike share pass were able to ride for the first month (walk-up riders had to wait).

Metro’s bike share has 51 kiosks and about 760 bikes right now. (The most popular station? The one in front of the CalTrans building on First and Main.) Originally, the system was planned to have 65 kiosks and up to 1,100 bikes, but a Metro spokesperson said that Downtown construction has hampered installation at some previously planned sites.

Metro’s moving toward expanding the system to Pasadena, Venice, and the Port of Los Angeles in 2017, says the Times.