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Release date: December 15, 2010

*** Press Release ***

Test rides of bicycles that may be coming soon to San Francisco

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) joins Mayor Gavin Newsom to host a Bicycle Sharing demonstration on December 17 and 18, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Civic Center Plaza in front of City Hall. The event will showcase systems from some of the nation’s leading bicycle share vendors.  The public is invited to come test ride the bicycles and experience technology currently in use in cities such as Washington DC, Denver, Montreal, London, Chicago, Melbourne, and Minneapolis.

Mayor Gavin Newsom and the SFMTA have made bicycle sharing a high priority and in October of this year the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) approved a $4.29 million grant that will make bicycle sharing in San Francisco and the region a reality. The total project cost is approximately $7 million with $1.4 million in funding provided by the Air District and $1.3 million in matching funds from the local partners.

The Regional Bicycle Sharing Pilot Program will deploy 1,000 bicycles at up to 100 kiosks along the San Francisco Peninsula—including 500 bicycles in San Francisco.  The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) will serve as overall project manager, coordinating implementation by the SFMTA, Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority (VTA), SamTrans, San Mateo County and Redwood City.  The project’s objective is to pilot and test zero-emission bicycle-sharing in downtown urban centers of varying sizes and population densities and demonstrate the potential to effectively reduce personal auto use.  Survey results following Minneapolis’s first season show that nearly 20 percent of bike-sharing trips made by annual subscribers were formerly made by car.

“Bicycle sharing that works regionally as well as in San Francisco will provide greater connectivity and make our transit system more useful,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “As bicycling increases in San Francisco and the Bay Area, key projects like this will encourage others to add bicycling to their travel solutions.”

“Services like bike sharing will strengthen the Bay Area’s sustainable transportation network,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO.  “The SFMTA is proud to work with its regional partners on this important effort to increase bicycling.”

Similar to car sharing, bicycle sharing is a term used to describe a membership-based system of short-term bicycle rental.  People can check a bicycle out from a network of automated bicycle kiosks, ride to their destination, and return the bicycle to a different station.  To maximize use of the bicycles, the first half hour of each trip is typically free of charge, with fees increasing incrementally over time. Bicycle sharing is enjoying a global explosion in growth with the development of special bicycles and stations that employ high tech features like smartcards, solar power, and wireless, internet and GPS technologies.

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