On Tuesday night, the City Council of Santa Monica, Los Angeles’ popular seaboard neighbor, approved a motion in a 5-1 vote to solicit proposals for bikeshare operations and equipment. In order to meet a grant funding deadline, a request for proposals will be released in October, and a vendor will be selected by December.
Paired with this approval to move forward on developing a bikeshare program independent of neighboring cities, including Los Angeles, Santa Monica’s City Council also approved a staff recommendation to pursue an extension to the grant deadline. This would allow Santa Monica to coordinate its bikeshare program on a regional scale with Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other surrounding cities.
While announcements were made in 2012 in the cities of Los Angeles and nearby Long Beach that a vendor had been chosen, negligible visible movement has been made since.
As the only city in the Los Angeles region with capital funds to implement a bikeshare program, Santa Monica has positioned itself to lead on shaping bikeshare for the whole region. This comes at a time when many major cities in the United States already have bikeshare programs operating or being planned.
A feasibility study conducted by the city staff projects that a system containing 25-35 stations and 250-350 bikes in the beachside city would receive 88,000 rides per year. Operations would cost approximately $840,000 annually, and user fees would generate $226-387,000 annually. The City Council did not define whether the program will be sponsorship- or advertising-based but directed city staff to assess both options.