SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — San Francisco was the site of a shared bicycle kiosk demonstration as the Bay Area prepares to join the ranks of several major European cities and a few here in the U.S.

The regional communal bike program is expected to start late next year.

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Mike Nelson of San Francisco came to see the bike-share demo at Civic Center Plaza, even though he already owns a bicycle.

“It’s definitely a great system for people who don’t have a place for a bike or get their bike stolen,” said Nelson.

The program will initially consist of 1,000 bikes with 100 or so kiosks set up between San Francisco and San Jose along the Caltrain corridor.

Bob Burns of Bcycle, a company competing to get the Bay Area contract, said the system works because users have to use a credit card to unlock a bike.

“There have been bike-sharing programs in the past where they just paint a bunch of bikes red and put them all over the city,” said Burns.

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He added that those types of programs don’t work because, “people don’t have any responsibility” for the bike.

Earlier this year Burns’ company set up a bike share system in Denver, where 43 percent of the users said they got a bike instead of driving a car.

Systems have been established in several European cities for years.

“Paris estimates that it reduced the traffic in the city by five percent,” said Burns.

The majority of the $7 million cost is being paid for through grant money by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

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