The CEO of Santa Monica’s new bikeshare vendor, CycleHop, is not afraid of delays.
City officials said in a report to City Council that the bikeshare could be operational by this summer but CycleHop has struggled with significant delays in every other city it’s struck a deal with, including Tampa, Orlando, Phoenix, and Ottawa.
“I have no concern at all,” said CycleHop CEO Josh Squire. “I could tell you that what you’ve seen over the past five years in bikeshare, I don’t know of one company who met a timeline for bikeshare. … And they had all the money.”
CycleHop did not have the money in the cases of the four aforementioned cities. They had to find their own funding because the cities were offering up only the use of the public right-of-ways for the station hubs. In Santa Monica’s case, City Council voted unanimously to have city officials negotiate a $5.6 million contract with CycleHop for the purchase, installation, and operation of 500 bikes and 65 to 75 stations throughout the city and beyond.
Contract extensions could bring the total cost to $10.4 million over an 8-year period.
City Hall will take care of pricing and procuring sponsors. This should make things easier on CycleHop.
Bikeshares allow riders to check-out bikes from one station and drop them off at any other station in the city.
“We introduced some features and technology that weren’t there before that took time to develop,” Squire said of the delays. “We wanted to get it right. We wanted to do it right. We didn’t want it to go like it did in New York where they rushed to get it out and they had that meltdown of bad publicity and users not happy. We don’t want that. We want to do it right. We’re comfortable about where we’re at right now.”
In the past two months, CycleHop opened systems in Phoenix, Tampa, and Orlando — though some are not yet as large as had been anticipated.
Still, the company claims that the new systems are thriving.
As of Jan. 9, GRID, CycleHop’s system in Phoenix, had 150 bikes and 793 members. GRID riders took more than 4,000 trips and covered nearly 3,750 miles since the system opened on Nov. 25, according to data provided by CycleHop.
In Phoenix, Monday has been the most popular day to ride, averaging 69 miles per day.
Tampa’s COAST has 1,108 members and 100 bikes. Riders have taken more than 3,200 trips and traveled more than 6,200 miles, according to CycleHop’s data.
In Tampa, the weekend is the most popular riding time, with more than 100 miles averaged on both Saturdays and Sundays.
Squire speculated that riding habits in Santa Monica could be similar to those in Tampa, given that both cities attract tourists.
“Everything we said we’d deliver in these cities, we delivered,” he said, “and they’re happy.”