Bike sharing program launches in Bay Area


At San Francisco City Hall, Mayor Ed Lee and others took the inaugural spin. Seven-hundred of the distinctive blue bikes are now available to the public 24 hours-a-day and seven days-a-week at 70 stations in San Francisco, San Jose and on the Peninsula.

"I mean, with downtown Redwood City and all the growth we have, were having, getting rid of cars is a huge deal," said Redwood City Vice-Mayor Jeff Gee.

Cyclists use a credit card to buy a membership. There are three different types of memberships: one year, three days or just one day. During that time riders can take as many 30 minute trips as they like. If people want to ride longer, they'll have to pay more.

"Insert your key into the slot. Once the light goes green, simply lift up the back seat," said Peter Hoban of Bay Area Bike Share.

Each bike has a global positioning system and other anti-theft devices.

"I think it's a good start. And everything is paid for; both the bikes, the stations," said Lee.

The $11 million project is funded by several agencies, including the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Those who gave it a go were impressed.

"You get to see the city and you know you're not always stuck in a cab, or whatever. And you can stop where you want. They got a lot of stations around," said cyclist Claude Swanson.

Swanson is from Washington D.C. which also has a bike-share program. In San Francisco, which sees a number of accidents, there is concern about a flood of cyclists on the streets.

"I mean, there's no arguing that, you know, it's dangerous when there's cars and bikes on the road. But, I think if everybody would just slow down and obey the rules of the road, we could all get along," said San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr.

Another 300 blue bikes are expected on the streets early next year.

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