Metro Board approves regional bikeshare vendor

Photo Note:  The bicycle’s branding scheme, including logos and colors, is an example only.  It is not the proposed, approved nor final branding for the bikes.  A title sponsorship or other branding opportunities will be considered by the Metro Board later this year. 

The Metro Board on Thursday voted to approve Metro’s selected vendor, Bicycle Transit Systems, Inc. to launch a long-awaited regional bikeshare program in Los Angeles County. As part of a bikesharing pilot project, the firm will install almost 1,100 bikes at 65 stations in downtown Los Angeles, with an opening next spring.

Here’s the official news release:

Bikesharing Coming To Downtown L.A.


In an eagerly anticipated decision that brings bikesharing to the City of Los Angeles and others county-wide, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board today voted to award a $11 million contract to Bicycle Transit Systems, Inc., jumpstarting the first pilot bikesharing program in Downtown L.A. next year, with expansions to other municipalities to follow.

Metro will launch the bike share system in spring 2016 with nearly 1,100 bikes at 65 stations throughout Downtown L.A.

“We are building new ways for Angelenos to get around,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Riding a bike is another option people can use to commute to work or explore the region. Today marks the first step in Metro’s plan to bring bikeshare to cities across the county.”

The launch will follow an extensive public outreach process that will give local residents, business owners and other stakeholders the opportunity participate in the planning of the county’s newest form of transportation. As the community input process advances, bicycles will be available for short-term hire at a wealth of downtown locations such as Union Station, L.A. Convention Center, Staples Center, Grand Park/Music Center, 7th Street/Metro Center , Grand Central Market, Pershing Square, the Arts District, the future Figueroa Cycle Track corridor, University of Southern California area and numerous attractions.

Following the launch in Downtown L.A., the system will expand to Pasadena in 2017 as Metro plans to bring the program to eight other communities for a total of 4,000 bicycles in ten communities in L.A. County.

Bikesharing, designed for low-cost, point-to-point short trips using a for-rent fleet of bicycles strategically located at docking stations in close proximity to one another and to transit, is a key transportation and first-mile-last-mile strategy that has already proved popular and successful in other major U.S. cities and around the globe, including New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Montreal, London and Paris. The new L.A. system will fill gaps in the transit network with durable bikes at self-service stations located every few blocks in Downtown. Residents and visitors can pick up a bike at any station, ride to their destination, and drop off the bike at any open dock. The system will allow unlimited, short-term access to bikes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Smartphone apps will give users real-time information about bike and dock availability. The system’s fares will be considered by the Metro Board at a future meeting. Metro’s Regional Bikeshare Implementation Plan, also approved by the Board, shares capital, operations and maintenance costs with cities, ensuring the program’s financial viability moving forward.

Metro conducted a rigorous, impartial and competitive procurement process to ensure that only the most experienced and capable vendor was selected to implement Metro’s Countywide Bikeshare Program.  Having just completed an on-time launch in Philadelphia, the newest of 34 systems in 42 cities with 7,000 bicycles operated througout North and South America, Bicycle Transit Systems, Inc. (BTS) and its partner BCycle, were determined to have the most industry experience and expertise, proven equipment and technology, and the greatest capability for immediate, on-time delivery of a large-scale, multi-jurisdictional bikeshare system backed by their industry-best customer service. The BTS/BCycle team also includes RideScout, BikeHub and Toole Design.

BTS/BCycle team will be able to provide the required number of bicycles and bicycle docking stations for the agency’s Downtown L.A. pilot program and program  expansion.  The firm already has one local distribution center in Ontario and a subsidary headquartered in San Diego County, and the L.A. system will create new jobs at these facilities, and more across LA county.

Metro Board members who authored earlier motions in support of Metro bikesharing include directors Eric Garcetti, Mike Bonin, Don Knabe, and former directors Zev Yaroslavsky and Pam O’Connor.

“I am tremendously excited that we are moving forward with bikeshare in L.A. and that we are focusing on developing a system that will connect our neighborhoods through interoperable systems,” said Metro Board Member Mike Bonin. “It defies logic that snowy cities around the country have had bikeshare for years, but a city like Los Angeles, with our wonderful weather and communities begging to be biked, still hasn’t gotten this done yet.”

“Bikeshare can be a key element of the first-last mile and balanced transportation solution, expanding the reach of transit and providing our transit users with another mobility option.” said Phillip A. Washington, Metro CEO. “As a proven, experienced leader in the bikeshare industry, we are confident that the BTS/Bcycle team will deliver a successful countywide bikeshare system.”

“The wheels are in motion on the region’s newest form of public transportation, and momentum continues to build for cycling on the streets of L.A. County,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, the former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation and a principal at Bloomberg Associates, where she advised on Metro’s bikeshare contract. “Nothing inspires a city quite like a new bikeshare system, and with by making a safe, affordable, active commute into a reality for thousands more Angelenos, this is a huge step in L.A.’s evolution from car culture to cycling capital.”

Metro’s Bikeshare Implementation Plan establishes a business plan needed to bring bikesharing to more cities within L.A. County. Under the plan, Metro will pay 50 percent of capital costs and 35 percent of net operations and maintenance costs.  The agency will manage a master operations contract with its selected bikeshare vendor to provide operations and maintenance for the entire regional system while BTS/BCycle is already working on integrating transit fare cards similar to Metro’s TAP card, bringing a convenient, unified payment system to the county’s rail, bus and bikeshare systems. Building on this board-approved funding mechanism, Metro is also seeking potential system sponsors interested in high-visibility advertising on the stations, bikes and related materials.

“Metro’s commitment to treating bikeshare as an extension of the transit system lays the foundation for Los Angeles to have one of the most equitable bikeshare systems in the country, one that is truly accessible and affordable to the communities that will benefit most. It is critically important that Angelenos’ first experience with bikeshare is seamlessly integrated throughout Los Angeles County and we encourage all agencies to collaboratively seek compatibility across multiple systems,” said Tamika Butler, Executive Director, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.  “We commend Metro for taking a leadership role and look forward to the successful deployment of a regional system.”

Metro, the City of L.A., and local partners will host demonstration events, open houses and workshops throughout Downtown and future service areas in the coming year. Angelenos are encouraged to attend, test out bikeshare bikes and provide feedback on how the system will best work for them.

About Metro

Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that is really three companies in one: a major operator that transports about 1.5 million boarding passengers on an average weekday on a fleet of 2,200 clean air buses and six rail lines, a major construction agency that oversees many bus, rail, highway and other mobility related building projects, and it is the lead transportation planning and programming agency for Los Angeles County.  Overseeing one of the largest public works programs in America, Metro is, literally, changing the urban landscape of the Los Angeles region. Dozens of transit, highway and other mobility projects largely funded by Measure R are under construction or in the planning stages. These include five new rail lines, the I-5 widening and other major projects.

Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at,,,


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Categories: Bicycle

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17 replies

  1. The government should be allowed to park and block anything, anywhere, anytime for any reason. They’re the government and they’re here to help! They know better than us, what is right and wrong. Trust in your masters.

    • When I was a kid, I grew up under Reagan. I didn’t know much about politics back them, but looking back reflecting on the times, many things he said resonate a lot today, especially these words:

      “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” indeed. Help by shutting down private mass transit services like Leap and Night School really shows which side they’re on (corrupt public employees, bureaucrats and their unions) instead of helping the people.

  2. The change must ensure that LADOT traffic officers and LAPD cruisers aren’t parked in bike lanes as they are on Los Angeles St. Additionally, Homeland Security needs to prevent people from using Los Angeles St. as a loading zone, it’s signed and has red paint to prevent drop-offs but the DHS doesn’t help – they actually park in the bike lane too. Los Angeles is walking and cycling route to Union Station, between downtown and Olvera, and Chinatown. Transportation is everyone’s responsibility and government employees shouldn’t park in bike because they feel they CAN.

    • Photograph them and report them to the newsmedia (the TV ‘investigative’ reporters) and the local/your council member. If they are not responding to an ememrgency or an immediate issue, they are not allowed to park there. The more people that do this, the more likely there will be a change. You may want to CC the council memeber, the newsmedia, and the Department head on the same e-mail. That way the politicos and the other officials will know that the media is watching them.

      • “report them to the newsmedia”

        That’s the old way of doing things. No one watches TV anymore and the media is too biased one way or the other. The media will just skew the facts based on the shareholders’ views. That’s why CNN is left-leaning and Fox News is right-leaning. The libertarian way to do it today is just upload the video onto Youtube. You don’t need TV anymore to get the word out to the people of instances where government starts abusing their power.

  3. This a great idea, but many of the streets in LA need stripping and signals that account for cyclists. This whole cycling crazy must be accompanied by a serious infrastructure change in LA as well as a change in attitude by city department staff.

  4. I’m very glad Metro decided to use the smart station set up compared to the way Santa Monica is doing it with a smart bicycle set up. Metro’s approach is less prone to vandalism and theft because of the secure locking mechanism whereas the smart bicycle solution of having the bikes lock to anywhere means the locking mechanism is less secure. It will also cost less from a labor standpoint as the smart station setup is easier to re-balance.

    Bravo to Metro for choosing the smarter and more proven option.

  5. The original B-Cycle bicycles that will be used seemed to have gone through a refinement process that makes them less vulnerable to vandalism. The first version had exposed brake and shifting cables. Now the cables seem to be hidden.

    Bicycle share systems have gone through a evolutionary process to reduce vandalism and theft. The reason for the electronic docking stations is to provide a very robust way to lock the bicycles. Bixi bicycle sharing in Montreal and also used in NYC, London, Chicago and Washington D.C. is an improvement on the 20,000 Velib bicycle sharing system in Paris. Velib had thousands of bicycles stolen with a locking mechanism on only one side of the bicycle and a thin cable lock in each front basket so that customers could lock the bicycles temporarily during their rental. Some of the vandalism and theft was done by twisting the bike out of the docking station. The Bixi docking station is on both sides of the front wheel so that the bicycles could not be forced from the docking stations by moving the bicycles side to side. The B-Cycle bicycles are secured by a similar means.

    I’m glad to see that Metro did an extensive evaluation of the experiences of using each bicycle share design. The Cycle Hop idea of leaving it up to the customer in how the bicycle is secured will likely result in far more bicycles being stolen compared to using a robust electronic docking station. The bicycles also look far more vulnerable to vandalism than the Bixi or the B-Cycle designs. Motivate seems to have recently made some improvements to the Bixi bicycle share design to make the system more reliable and easier to use.

    Since the bicycle sharing systems in Santa Monica and downtown LA will have approximately the same number of bicycles that will start operations within months of each other, making it fairly easy to compare reliability, usability, durability, vandalism, cost of operation and theft rates between the two systems.

  6. I hope we can use our TAP cards to pay for bike rides for this bike share system as well as the different ones planned for Santa Monica and Long Beach. If their respective transit systems use TAP, using this system seems to me to be a logical way of making the systems “compatible.” I also hope they find incentives for using bike share so that most of it’s riders can afford it.