At its meeting last night, the Santa Monica City Council approved an extension to Santa Monica’s existing Shared Mobility Pilot Program with Bird and Lyft as the two operators. The City will postpone the request for applications for its second pilot program that was released in March before the issuance of emergency stay at home orders. This change in direction comes as the shared mobility industry like many others, experiences significant changes during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including JUMP and Lime deciding to cease operating in Santa Monica.
“We want equitable access to mobility options that reduce our carbon emissions and help with traffic by providing alternatives to cars,” said Mayor Kevin McKeown. “The shared mobility field is in flux and under stress, so we’re grateful to have established local partners like Lyft and Bird.”
The Council action suspends the planned second pilot and extends the existing pilot through May 2021, with the same number of total allowed devices allocated between the City’s two remaining operators. With JUMP electric bikes ceasing operations, Council directed staff to work with Bird and Lyft to explore other types of devices that offer attractive options to customers. Breeze Bike Share continues to be an option with stations located throughout Santa Monica.
Additionally, Council directed staff to return with a fee resolution as part of the June budget to include a $0.20 per trip public right-of-way fee instead of the current $1/day per device fee. These funds will continue to be reinvested in the City’s transportation infrastructure, including green bike lanes.
Bird, Lyft, and Breeze are taking additional measures to sanitize devices for your health and safety. For added protection, the operators are increasing the frequency for cleaning and sanitizing fleets and maintenance vehicles in the field, providing appropriate equipment and supplies to staff, and encouraging distancing for all staff and remote working for non-essential maintenance staff. The operators continue to closely monitor public health guidance and are in regular communication with users as guidance changes.
Submitted by Constance Farrell, Santa Monica Public Information Officer