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 ## 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: ##

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.”

  • Anonymous

    Will we be able to use our Clipper Cards?

  • The SFMTA has said it is looking into setting that up.

  • Anonymous

    Woah, just looking into it?  Beyond obvious.

  • Jarrett M

    There was something about clipper cards in the RFP, but the way it was worded indicated that it would be a feature introduced later. 

  • Mario Tanev

    Why not launch in SF first? It’s the most important market anyway, especially due to America’s Cup. This is a wasted opportunity to test the full potential of the program and expand it for America’s Cup.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s more complicated than just launching a program in, say, San Francisco,”

    Okay… then just launch it in, say, San Francisco, and grow from there. Boston didn’t wait until Cambridge and Allston were on board. DC didn’t wait until Arlington was a go…

  • I suppose this is too far down the road, but electric assist share bikes (for the hills) seem possible:

  • In the city, it seems like the private sector has the tourists well covered, including pick up and drop off  at the places they are likely to go. After the tourists are skimmed off, how much business will be left?

  • If each of these bikes is used 5 times a day by former car drivers (5,000 journeys), it will in total be equal to less than one percent of MUNI’s modal share. But probably most will replace MUNI trips, or owned-bike trips, or walking… so it will be like less half a percent…

  • Anonymous

    But it makes SF look good.

  • Oliver Maxwell

    Those Citibikes just look like giant corporate sponsored eyesores, if I were ever in Manhattan and were inclined to bike I wouldn’t use one of those. Makes me want to punch a banker who agreed to this in the nether regions. I just hope ours end up looking easy on the eyes.

  • Jane

    The problem is that Bixi, Alta’s partner in bike sharing, is in serious trouble. The CEO was fired, it had to be rescued by the City of Montreal, and it is being sued by its software vendor. Alta/Bixi have to write an entirely new software infrastructure from scratch, and it is way behind schedule. The Chattanooga system was supposed to launch in April with the new software, and it is still in beta testing with small group of users. There is no way Alta can meet its deadlines for NYC, so it’s no wander the Bay Area is delayed.

  • Rachelsh

    Yes, using Clipper Card for bicycle share would make this part of a complete mobility system. It’s not so much about replacing existing transit, but augmenting the entire system while making non-car mobility as compelling as possible.


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