Clear Channel Drops SF Bike Share, Mayor Newsom Pledges Larger Pilot

At a press conference this afternoon to celebrate the city's first new bike lane in three years, Mayor Gavin Newsom and MTA Chief Nat Ford learned that Clear Channel had backed out of its option to implement a public-use bike share program in San Francisco. Ironically, just as Mayor Newsom was answering a question from Streetsblog about the future of bike share in San Francisco, Ford approached him with the news, which he had just found out about.

velib_shot1_small.jpgPhoto: HeyNix
Newsom raised his voice as Ford approached, saying, "I want to do the Velib program here in San Francisco. Nat Ford said, and he knows this, he will not be here if he does not get that bike sharing program done."

When Newsom learned that Clear Channel had walked away from the advertising contract option for bike share, he said he was "furious about it." 

"You can express publicly my disappointment with Clear Channel, C-H-A-N-N-E-L, who we've been working with, for not following through with the commitments they've made," said Newsom.

With Clear Channel out of the picture, the MTA will release an RFP for new proposals, one Ford indicated they had already prepared for precisely this scenario. "We are free to scour the world now," said Ford.

Mayor Newsom also revealed that his "internal goal" for the bike share pilot was 2700 bikes across the city, not the previously reported 50. He said that between his office and the MTA, there were two people working full-time on the pilot. Ford would not guess on a timeline for releasing the RFP, but said it would be soon.

"Candidly we should be further along," said Newsom. "The injunction was a partial issue, we never could have implemented it anyway."

"I'm not going to leave this office without getting something substantive done," he said.