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Bay Area Bike Share Poised to Expand, but Not Enough, say Critics

Launched last summer, the regional bike share program is looking to expand this spring to one thousand bikes in one hundred kiosks, according to Air District officials who administer the five-city, three-county pilot program and view it as a success.
January 3, 2014, 12pm PST | Irvin Dawid
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"Three months after it pedaled to a long-awaited start, the regional Bay Area Bike Share program is on a roll and planners are already working to make it bigger," writes the San Francisco Chronicle's transportation reporter, Michael Cabanatuan, on the pilot program launched August 29.

Officials from the Bay Area Air Quality (Management) District which is funding and overseeing the program, consider it a success.

"We're very pleased with it," said Ralph Borrmann, an air district spokesman. "It's comparable to how programs in other large cities across the country have done at this point."

Cabanatuan writes that half of all bikes will be based in San Francisco where ridership is highest, as one would expect, with San Jose a "distant second". Redwood City, Palo Alto, and Mountain View have the remaining bikes, all connected by the Caltrain commuter rail line which runs down the San Francisco Peninsula.

There are no bikes in the heavily populated East Bay that is served by BART, a heavy rail line that carries the most passengers in the Bay Area after San Francisco's MUNI.

However, BABS' coverage of San Francisco, even with the expansion, will still be lacking according to bike advocates.

Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, described Bay Area Bike Share as a success but said the program needs to expand both in the areas it already serves by adding more bikes and more stations, as well as growing outward into new neighborhoods. "We're worried that there's no plan to get to 3,000 bikes," she added.

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Published on Thursday, January 2, 2014 in San Francisco Chronicle
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