LA bike-share expanding Monday to walk-up renters

Metro is opening bike-sharing rentals in downtown Los Angeles starting Monday to walk-up users.
Metro is opening bike-sharing rentals in downtown Los Angeles starting Monday to walk-up users.
LA Metro

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If you’ve been wanting to try out downtown Los Angeles’ new bike-share system, but you didn’t want to buy a pass, you’ll get the chance starting Monday when the program opens to walk-up users.

But while bike-share access is expanding, some communities are better served than others. 

A new report from the Urban Sustainability Directors Network shows that most bike-share systems around the country aren’t accessible to some of the people who need them most – low-income communities of color who rely more heavily on public transit. 

Phil Washington, Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO, said he wants things to be different in Los Angeles County.

"We don’t want to just limit this to tourists. You know, this first-last mile, and just normal day-to-day, that’s what we’re trying to do. We want to create mobility options," he told KPCC.

Bike-share systems allow users to check out a bike, ride a short distance and then drop it off. That makes it easier to get around without a car because it bridges the so-called "last mile" gap between a person’s home or work and public transit.

Metro is giving out 40,000 discount passes in low-income neighborhoods to allow users to rent bikes for half the usual price.

Officials are also discussing a permanent low-income discount for the bikes, just as the agency has for regular transit tickets on trains and buses.

The walk-up rentals will go for $3.50 for the first 30 minutes or less and $3.50 for each 30 minutes that follow. But through Oct. 1, Metro is offering a discount to $1.75 per half hour to encourage tryouts. A map of pickup locations is available on the Metro website.

Designed largely for tourists and visitors, the walk-up pricing also gives those who want to try out the bikes a chance for a short trip.

Monthly passes at $20 a month and flex passes at $40 a year, both of which can be tied to riders' TAP cards, are also available. 

The bike-share program is set to expand next to Pasadena, then other areas of the county in future years.

Washington said Metro does seek to serve more transit-dependent neighborhoods when expanding access to bike-share.

This story has been updated.

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