San Mateo approves bike share program

The San Mateo City Council recently approved a contract for a 50-bike pilot bike share program within the city.

The program, according to a press release from the city of San Mateo, will be made possible through a partnership between Social Bicycles, a New York-based bike share purveyor and Bikes Make Life Better, a local bicycle operator that runs bike share programs on corporate campuses throughout the Bay Area.

The contract was approved by the council Nov. 16.

The pilot program will launch in May and will feature a smart bike system that allows for greater flexibility than current Bay Area bike share programs, the release said.

“Each Social Bicycle has a GPS-
enabled integrated lock that gives riders the flexibility to park bikes at stations or at regular bike parking racks, providing true A to B connectivity. This differs from other bike share technologies that only allow riders to park bikes at docking stations.” Justin Wiley, director of business development for Social Bicycles, said in the release.

San Mateo will join cities like Santa Monica and Portland that are using the Social Bicycles bike share model. Social Bicycles is in talks with other cities in the region, according to the release, and hopes to one day launch a regional bike share system that links up to other Peninsula cities.

San Mateo is directly funding the purchase of the bicycles that will be used for the system, but plans to offset the operation costs with user fees and sponsorships from local partners. The proposed $15 a month user fees which will include one hour of use per day, and $5 per hour as a pay-as-you-go rate, the release said.

The 50-bikes will be spread out among 10 to 12 bike stations. The exact locations haven’t been determined but will include Caltrain stations, high density residential areas and major employment centers.

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