Bay Area Bike Share
Bay Area Bike Share bikes docked outside SFMTA headquarters (Bryan Goebel/KQED)

Starting today, there’s no excuse not to grab a bike and go. Bay Area Bike Share debuts at noon, with 700 spanking new baby-blue bikes available at 70 locations in San Francisco, the Peninsula and San Jose.

Half of the heavy-duty, extra-durable bikes will be stationed at kiosks in SF (mostly concentrated in the Financial District, Union Square, Civic Center and SoMa), with the rest at various spots along the Caltrain corridor and in downtown areas of Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Jose. Bikes are available 24/7, and can be rented from one station and returned to any other. You can pick up a bike using a key fob or electronic code.

Basic membership is $88 annually. You can also get a short-term membership for $22 for three days, or $9 for 24 hours, with a credit or debit card. Members can take unlimited rides of up to 30 minutes; overtime fees range from $4 to $7 and max out at $150 a day.

Ed Reiskin, director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, told the San Francisco Chronicle that this is not exactly a bike rental service. “It’s sort of the difference between car sharing and car rental. It’s there for short trips, errands, to fill a gap.”

Bay Area Bike Share is a pilot project in partnership with, among others, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, SamTrans, Caltrain, San Mateo County, Redwood City and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Officials hope to add 300 bikes in the next few months.

  • Fred

    Great idea, but 30 minutes? What if you want to ride to a part of town that doesn’t have a rack nearby? Seems like the unlimited use period should be an hour. And what about helmets? SF city streets are not exactly like riding on a country road. So you need to think about bringing a helmet with you. Maybe they could have different price plans for longer rental periods. In addition to $9 for 30 minutes/ride, how about $12 for 60/ride? Or have a 10 minute grace period in case traffic holds you up so you don’t owe $4 because you’re one minute late. Just my .02

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