After years of struggling to establish a citywide bike share system—something offered for years in cities from New York to Tulsa—we finally pulled it off. Mayor Eric Garcetti, LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds, and Metro CEO Phil Washington will all be at Grand Park to inaugurate the new Metro-operated system, which adds about 1,000 bikes and 65 share stations in and around DTLA. It’s a big day for mobility, but there’s a lot to know before you can hop on a bike and pick up some hummus at Whole Foods.
First and foremost, until August 1, the bike share will only be available for those who purchase monthly or yearly passes. Go here to buy a pass, where you can pay $20 for a monthly pass (allowing unlimited amount 30-minute rides) or $40 for an annual pass (where each half-hour ride will cost $1.75). When someone purchases a bike pass it will be linked to the rider’s TAP card and, if you don’t have a TAP card, Metro will mail you a special bike-decorated TAP. It could take two weeks to receive the TAP, but if you want to rent a Metro Bike while waiting, walk to a station kiosk, follow the prompts to verify your identity, and get your wheels. After August 1, a TAP card won’t be required to rent a bike—though it will cost $3.50 a ride for the walk-up rentals.
Deposit the bike back to any of the 65 stations—more are coming, including to Pasadena—and wait to hear three beeps to confirm the return. If your station is filled to the brim with bikes, touch the kiosk’s screen and follow prompts to get 15 free additional minutes to return your wheels. An app will make it easier to find kiosks and information on how many bikes are available at each one. So, the big question was whether the Metro Bike program would be integrated into Santa Monica’s already-existing Breeze bike share—it won’t. Metro is not clear if this will ever get rectified. They note that half-hour rentals aren’t ideal for riding across town, but the lack of coordination also negates people renting Metro Bikes in DTLA, hopping on the Expo Line, and returning them in Santa Monica. Grrr.
A few other things: Metro is working on promoting the share among minority communities, including with folks who may not have credit cards. Helmets are only required for anyone under 18. The bikes come with lights, reflective material, and a small basket for your shopping needs. Should your bike be stolen, immediately call 1-844-857-BIKE (844-857-2453) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Renters won’t be on the hook for the stolen cycle. More info on everything here.