One of the last bike share programs to launch in a major metropolitan city opened to business in downtown Los Angeles Thursday.
Residents and visitors can now rent one of 1,000 bikes at 65 locations stretching from Chinatown to Washington Boulevard.
Hundreds attended a launch party for the bike share system in Grand Park, including Thuan Vuong. an avid cyclist from Echo Park. He signed up to take a ride on a shared bike and hopes to use them more in the future.
"I’m a bicyclist and I’m always keen on having more bikes so it’ll be safer to be on the road," Vuong said. "I think this is only a start. The more we bike ride, the more they’ll build the bike lanes."
Riders can use a registered Metro TAP card, $20 a month bike share pass or $40 annual pass to take the bikes for a spin initially. Starting Aug. 1, the bikes can also be rented at $3.50 for every 30 minutes.
While the bikes can be used by anyone, Metropolitan Transportation Authority and L.A. city officials hope to attract low-income transit riders who can use the bicycles for daily commuting.
Bike share programs have historically served higher income residents and tourists while underserving low-income communities. With grants from Metro and the Better Bike Share Partnership, the county aims to make bike sharing more widely accessible to downtown residents.
Starting next year, the $11 million bike share system will be expanded to Pasadena, North Hollywood, Burbank, Huntington Park, Venice, Marina Del Rey, East L.A. and other L.A. county communities.
How to use the bike share system
1. Register your Metro TAP card or buy a $20 monthly or $40 annual bike share pass. Starting Aug. 1, you can walk up to any of the locations and rent a bike for $3.50 every 30 minutes.
2. Go to any of 65 bike dock locations in downtown L.A.
3. Touch a TAP card or pass to the dock to unlock the bike.
4. Ride to your destination.
5. Return the bike to the nearest dock.
Remember that you'll have to bring your own helmet if you want head protection; the bike share system doesn't rent them. California requires helmets for those 17 and under; it's optional for adults.
You can also download Metro's bike share app to check on availability of the bikes or to buy passes.
This story has been updated.