When transit watchers look back on 2013, they’ll remember it as the year of the bike share. Last month, the country watched as New York rolled out Citi Bike to much fanfare (and plenty of grumbling). Then, a couple of weeks later, Chicago officials announced plans to rollout “Divvy,” the Second City’s new bike-sharing program. Now, the latest city to catch the bike-sharing bug is San Francisco, which is set to launch a bike-sharing program of its own in August. Unlike New York and Chicago, San Francisco isn’t committing to a full-scale rollout just yet. Instead, the City by the Bay will launch a one- to two-year pilot program to test the system’s efficacy.
Under the current plan, the Bay Area Bike Share program will consist of about 700 bikes that will be stationed at 70 modular, solar-powered stations spread throughout the Bay Area. Users will be able to rent a bike from one station and return it to any other location. After the pilot program runs its course, the agency hopes to expand the program to offer as many as 10,000 bikes.
This spring, SFMTA released an initial map showing where it plans to put the first 35 bike sharing stations, and it is soliciting public comments to find out what people think about the locations. Under the pilot program, 350 of the bikes will be stationed in downtown San Francisco, and the other 350 will be spread out throughout Silicon Valley.
As for the aesthetics of the bike, the agency has chosen a pale turquoise color (which isn’t final, but it’s currently the front-runner). The program will be managed by Alta, the same company that is managing New York’s Citi Bike, and the design of the bike looks very similar to those seen in New York and Chicago.
“San Francisco and the Bay Area are ready for bike sharing,” said SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin in a statement. “Bicycle use continues to grow in San Francisco and bike share is a great way to get more people on bikes in a convenient and fun way.”
Photo via Flickr user sfbike