(City of Santa Cruz – Contributed) A cyclist on West Cliff Drive tests out one of 250 bikes that will be available to the public as part of the City of Santa Cruz’s new Bike Share program, which will launch in March 2018. The Jump brand bike is trademarked by Social Bicycles, which has partnered with the City of Santa Cruz to roll out the program.
By Karen Kefauver, Spin City
(City of Santa Cruz – Contributed) Starting in March 2018, a new bike sharing program will provide 250 on-demand, 8-speed bicycles for use by Santa Cruz residents and visitors. Bike Share is a partnership between the City of Santa Cruz and Social Bicycles, a Brooklyn-based company that will be providing and maintaining the bikes at no cost to the city.
One of the highlights of Holly Sadoff’s recent trip to New York City was exploring the Big Apple by bike. But it wasn’t an organized bike tour or a rental from a bike shop. Instead, she and her husband, Paul Sadoff, tried something different. The Santa Cruz couple used the city’s bike sharing program for the first time. With some advance planning, they mapped out fun places to visit and took advantage of the city’s extensive network of bike routes.
Starting next March, the City of Santa Cruz, in partnership with Brooklyn-based Social Bicycles, rolls out its own bike sharing program that will provide 250 bicycles, on demand, for the public. Santa Cruz residents and visitors alike will be able to choose from a fleet of 8-speed bikes: 50 electric bikes and 200 standard bikes. They will be located at various stations around Santa Cruz.
“It was extremely easy to use,” Sadoff said of the New York City’s bike share system. “Paul and I loved it. There was a whole row of about 20 bikes. We put in the credit card and we got our bikes for the day. It’s cheaper and you can cover so much more ground. It was easy to navigate and you can ride your bike anywhere. If we can figure it out, anybody can.”
Using the bike share system requires a few steps. First, find and reserve a bike through the mobile or web app, or just walk up to a bike to enter your information. A credit card is the standard payment though a cash payment option will also be available. At a bike station, unlock the bike with a pin number, go for your ride and then return the bike to any station.
How does bike share work? Set up an online account, input your credit card number and receive a pin number. Reserve a bike. Go to a bike station in the desired location to pick up your bike, enter the pin number and then the bike is unlocked. Ride the bike and then return it to a station.
How much does the city pay for Bike Share? The city is not committing any money to the partnership. Social Bicycles provides the bikes, maintenance and customer service at no cost to the city. The company, founded in 2008, makes it money through membership fees and bike share rental fees. They have upcoming launches in Washington D.C. (September 2017) and New Orleans (November 2017) and of course Santa Cruz (Spring 2018).
What is the bike share fee structure? There are two options for using the bike, by the hour or a month-long membership — $2 for a 30-minute ride (pro-rated to the minute) and a monthly membership for $20/month. The 30-minute ride time can be divided up as needed (for example, three 10-minute rides in a day.)
Karen Kefauver (www.karenkefauver.com) is a freelance writer and avid cyclist who covers sports and travel and is based in Santa Cruz. Her Spin City bike column appears monthly and was launched in 2009.