SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Getting around the Bay Area on two wheels may get a bit easier now that a new company has acquired Bay Area BikeShare and plans to invest in the program’s upkeep and expansion.
With 700 bicycles available for short-term rental in five cities, Bay Area BikeShare got off to a strong launch in August, 2013.
But, with the pilot program rolling along and a major expansion planned, BikeShare hit a roadblock — the cycles’ manufacturer went bankrupt and the company that maintains them, Alta Bicycle Share of Portland, Ore., was put up for sale.
All that uncertainty left Bay Area BikeShare spinning its wheels for nearly a year, unable to add more bikes and stations.
The program’s new owners, BikeShare Holdings, will bring management expertise and more money to the venture, adding as many as 300 new bikes, according to Susan Shaheen, co-director of Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center. Shaheen has been studying BikeShare and believes it will be improved.
“I think it’s a good sign. When there’s more investment, there’s more activity, there are more players. That gives cities and towns more choices,” she said.
BikeShare Holdings’ ambitious plans include an expansion to 7,000 bikes by 2030. That would still leave it short of compared to some other cities which have installed similar programs. Paris, for example, has 20,000 cycles for rent.
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