Locals and tourists looking to travel around Santa Monica will have a new bike-share option in the region beginning Tuesday.
Lyft has partnered with the City of Santa Monica to launch a new ebike system along with a fleet of new pedal-assist electric bikes this week, and the company hopes to increase its fleet to around 500 ebikes over the course of the next few months.
The rollout of the ebikes comes only a few days after the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it would temporarily close 58 Metro Bike Share Stations on the Westside, beginning Monday, to replace the agency’s dockless Smart Bikes with Classic bikes and stations.
“Metro will be removing ‘Smart Bikes’ from its service offerings. The bikes, which are not required to be physically docked to a bike share station, have not proven popular with Westside riders,” a news release stated. “One reason: the bikes contain geofencing limitations that restrict their ability to be used outside the Westside area without incurring additional service fees. Classic Bikes — which require a docked configuration, operate solely on foot pedaling and have higher ridership — are simpler and less expensive to replace. Metro’s vendor will convert the Westside fleet at no cost to the agency.”
The news from Lyft and Metro comes on the heels of the Breeze bikeshare program ending in November, but Lyft leaders said they launched the ebikes now to ensure there is no gap in service once the Breeze program ceases operations.
“Santa Monica already knows and loves our Lyft scooters, and we’re excited to provide yet another form of fun, active and naturally physically distant transportation to help residents get around at this time,” said David Fairbank, General Manager for Lyft Bikes and Scooters in Southern California.
“With more people biking and new models of mobility increasing in popularity, I am super excited to have the new Lyft ebikes, and their equity program, serving our community in Santa Monica,” Santa Monica Spoke Director Cynthia Rose said. “Public ebikes help encourage greater options for more environmentally sustainable and equitable mobility for all — helping to reduce single-car trips and traffic congestion is good for our community and the environment.”
The new ebikes will be docked at the existing Breeze stations, and Santa Monica’s launch follows ebike rollouts in Columbus, Minneapolis, San Francisco, San Jose, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago and Portland, according to company officials, who said the electric bikes allow riders to travel around the Westside with less effort.
When riders pedal, the ebikes use a small electric motor to boost the rider’s pedal-power, which makes longer trips easier and more accessible, officials added, stating users can rent ebikes in the Lyft app for $1 and will be charged $0.34 per minute.
“I couldn’t be more excited to see Lyft launch its new ebike program in Santa Monica. Our future depends on sustainable, active transportation like ebikes,” said Mayor Pro Tem Terry O’Day.
“Ebikes are growing in popularity because of the welcome boost they give to travel more easily or further, and as an outdoor mobility option in our year-round temperate climate,” said Francie Stefan, Santa Monica’s Chief Mobility Officer. “Santa Monica looks forward to the availability of Lyft ebikes within the city. This new service by Lyft will provide people with another sustainable and easy option for getting around and builds upon the city’s many shared mobility efforts that started with the launch of Breeze bikes almost five years ago.’