County joins bike-share pilot program

Pilot program may start in summer of 2012

San Mateo County has joined a pilot program that would lend bikes to Caltrain commuters for the day. The pilot may begin by the summer of 2012.

Commuters could essentially deboard Caltrain, check out a bicycle from a kiosk, and ride to a final destination where the bike could be left in another nearby kiosk.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted Aug. 9 to join a partnership of local agencies participating in the program, known as the Regional Bicycle Share Pilot Project, which will be administered by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

The program aims to put up to 1,000 bikes in more than 100 kiosks along Caltrain's Peninsula corridor, according to air district spokesman Aaron Richardson. "The idea is that one of the ways these bikes could be most valuable is as commute extenders," he said.

The pilot program would establish bike kiosks in San Francisco, Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto and San Jose.

Among the agencies that have agreed to take part in the pilot program are the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Mateo County Transportation District, the city of Redwood City and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

By joining the partnership, San Mateo County has agreed to provide staff to promote the program locally and designate sites on county-owned properties as possible locations for kiosks.

"Bike sharing is an innovative way to improve our community's health and air quality by replacing short car trips with zero-emission bikes," air district executive director Jack Broadbent said in a statement.

The pilot program is being funded by $4.29 million in grant funds awarded to the air district by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Mr. Richardson said.

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Posted by can't wait
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 10, 2011 at 5:32 pm

This is a fantastic program. Often, I drive solo on the highway because the closest bus stop or train stop is a couple of miles from my destination. I don't want to take my own bike because there sometimes is no space for it on the bus or train and then I am stuck. I am also very afraid of getting my bicycle stolen than of getting hit by a car. This bike share program might solve all my problems, as long as there are enough bike share stations around town and enough bikes to meet the demand. Every person that uses this program is one less car on the road, so everyone wins (except the oil companies).

Like this comment
Posted by Richard
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Bike sharing programs have been successful in some locations, not in others. A lot of it depends on travel patterns and how well the program can match those conveniently. I think that our area is very challenging in that regard, but focusing on the Caltrain corridor is a good place to start.

Like this comment
Posted by Sounds great!
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 11, 2011 at 12:34 pm

If executed well, this could be a very good thing for commuters here. I don't know how they're planning to do it, but my biggest concern for the program is that it will be unreliable. For example, people aren't going to take the train only to find that there are no bikes available and they have no way to get to work/wherever they're headed. There should be some number of bikes at each kiosk that can be reserved ahead of time to ensure availability. If the bikes are intended to be free, perhaps a deposit made online that is returned when you pick up the bike (to prevent people from reserving bikes they won't use). If there's a charge for the bikes, then the ability to reserve them shouldn't be a concern.

Like this comment
Posted by R.Gordon
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Now this is the kind of story and news I am sure our citizens can work out in little time at all.........sure.

Actually, everyone is waiting for Peter C. to fork out a few bucks while he is in London on business......or whatever he does but still checks in to his beloved "voice" emphasizer.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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