My friend recently returned home from studying abroad in Europe and cannot stop raving about the obvious: the food, the beautiful scenery, the interesting people. But one other thing I keep hearing about is how impressed she was with the bike sharing system available in many of the countries she visited.
The program, available in places like Austria, Belgium, France, and Germany, allows you to rent and return bikes at different docking stations around participating towns. The advantages are that you don’t have to worry about the problems that come with ownership, such as theft, vandalism, and maintenance. My friend praised the ease and convenience of the system in the busy towns she visited. That got me wondering: why doesn’t something like this exist in San Francisco?
As if on cue, Mashable recently revealed that the Bay Area is among 4 areas in the U.S. that will see a bike sharing program in the near future.
According to Mashable, the Bay Area Regional Bicycle Sharing Pilot Program is set to award a contract to a vendor this fall and will incorporate “RFID and cellular communications, GPS and mobile apps.” In addition, the docking stations will be completely solar powered and will require no construction to install. The system will collect data on how often the program is used, as well as where bikes are being rented and returned in order to better determine where more stations are needed.
In San Francisco, the main stations will be near CalTrain, the Transbay Bus Terminal, and BART stations. It should be interesting to see how often the bikes will be used and by whom.
Do you think you’ll be one of the first to try out the new program?