Bike-share in the Bay Area will now arrive no sooner than the summer of 2013, roughly a year and a half after the original launch date, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Alta Bicycle Share, the chosen vendor, is still negotiating a contract with agencies in the five cities in which the system is planned to launch, said BAAQMD spokesperson Ralph Borrmann. Once the contract is signed, he said, the launch will come at least six to eight months later.
Few details are available on the causes of the repeated delays. The BAAQMD offered the same explanation given in July, citing the complexity of launching the 1,000-bike system in multiple cities along the Peninsula. Alta has not responded to requests for more information.
“Things are moving along,” said Borrmann. “They’re still working on contractual and administrative issues in dealing with a larger-scale program like this. I believe this is the only one that’s going to be region-wide like this.”
The multiple delays of bike-share — a program which SFMTA staff has called one of the most cost-effective ways to increase bike ridership — have kept San Franciscans waiting while bike-share systems thrive in peer cities like Washington, D.C., Boston, Minneapolis, and Denver. California’s first bike-share system launched this July in Anaheim, and is expected to expand in Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles in the coming months.
Alta is the dominant bike-share vendor in major North American cities, and plans to launch other systems next year in New York City, Chicago, and Portland, where it is based. The New York launch — set to be the nation’s largest — has been delayed by software glitches, but it’s unclear if those issues have affected the launch of the Bay Area’s system.