Bikeshare Comes to Los Angeles…Sort Of

Here’s photographic confirmation that bikeshare has arrived in LA:

Not the City of Los Angeles, though; not quite yet. That’s a live bikeshare station in Santa Monica, on Main Street, next to one of the two bike corrals that grace the block south of Ashland. (There’s another and very busy bike corral two blocks north.)

This is a test deployment, with only a few stations, giving the city an opportunity to work out the bugs before going full-scale. But there they are, available for use by the public. And the distinctive bikes were in evidence on the road last Sunday when I snapped this picture.

You may not believe this, at least not if you live in LA, but the Westside cities have been coordinating their rollout of bikeshare, and have agreed on a single vendor, CycleHop, ensuring that, should riders cross a city line in search of food, drink, or shopping, they can still find someplace to leave the bike (and stop the meter) while patronizing some happy retailer or other. In fact, UCLA, West Hollywood, Long beach, and even (gasp!) Beverly Hills will all be using the same system.

You know what’s coming next….

That’s right: Los Angeles, represented in bikeshare by Metro, has chosen a system that is incompatible, at least at present, with CycleHop. It will roll out in downtown next year, and eventually reach Pasadena. There has been talk of Westside stations as well, which could lead to confusion.

This, of course, is right in line with LA’s famous no-bid award to a Tustin bikeshare company that collapsed before the project could even get started, just a couple of years ago. Metro’s system may, perhaps, eventually accept TAP cards, which would be good. The chaos that might be inflicted on bikeshare users when incompatible stations occupy the same territory would not be so good.

But, in the meantime, if you want to see real, live bikeshare in action, get yourself over to Santa Monica and see the competition’s system. If bikeshare isn’t quite here, it’s near…right now.

And the full-scale, 500-bike network should be running by November.

Read more at Santa Monica Next.

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