Bike-Share Delayed Again: Launch Now Set as Late as January

In yet another delay, the Bay Area’s bike-share system will now launch as late as January, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

These are the bikes for ##http://a841-tfpweb.nyc.gov/bikeshare/##New York City's bike share system##, set to be launched this month by Alta, the same operator selected for the Bay Area's system. Photo: ##http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120618/midtown-east/residents-say-bike-share-site-near-un-creates-safety-risk##DNAinfo##

The launch of the 1,000-bike system has been repeatedly delayed since the SF Municipal Transportation Agency first said it would happen this spring. The target date was then moved to July (in time for America’s Cup), and then to a staggered launch in August and September to give potential operators more time to put together their bids. However, the contract between the BAAQMD, the agency overseeing the program, and Alta Bicycle Share, the vendor which was selected in May, has yet to be finalized.

BAAQMD spokesperson Lisa Fasano said she couldn’t comment on what’s prolonging the contract negotiations, but she said the latest delay can be chalked up to the complex nature of launching a regional bike-share system in five cities. She said the agency is aiming to launch the system by the end of the year, but that it could roll over into January.

“It’s more complicated than just launching a program in, say, San Francisco,” said Fasano. “We feel like it’s moving along, and we’re satisfied with the progress that it’s making.”

Alta, which is also launching bike-share systems this year in New York City and Chicago, has not responded to a request for comment.

SF Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum told the SF Examiner the news of the latest delay was “disheartening.”

“It’s just really surprising that a program that is so successful and popular in other cities has taken so long to get implemented in San Francisco,” Shahum told the Examiner. “Especially considering that we have the money in place.”

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