Bike Share Launches in San Mateo

With its commitment to sustainable transportation, the City of San Mateo is launching its own shared bicycle program, Bay Bikes. The bicycles started rolling in time for Bike to Work Day, Thursday, May 12.

An exciting innovation about these bicycles is the use of a “smart bike” system, as opposed to the “smart hub system” used by other bike share programs in the region. A smart bike has the technology for locating, renting, releasing and locking on the bikes as opposed to on the bike racks.

What does that mean? You can park a Bay Bike at a regular bike rack, including in the middle of a reservation. That’s a huge differentiator and provides the bike-share user greater flexibility.

San Mateo’s bike sharing program is a pilot, which will be evaluated at the end of three years. The City’s vision is, ultimately, to have bikes at every major employment center, at major residential communities and adopted by neighboring cities.

Hayward Park bicycle copy

According to Kathy, there will be 50 bikes at 10-12 stations, including at Bay Meadows – near the Nueva School, at the Kaiser campus and at Hillsdale Caltrain station. Additionally, there will be bikes at office campuses and in a couple of downtown locations.

“We’d like ultimately for this to be a regional network on the Peninsula. This ‘smart bike’ technology is really an integrated system that doesn’t know boundaries.”

This bike sharing system was developed by Social Bicycles, with systems already used in Portland and Santa Monica. Reservations are easy via the website or app. The pricing structure is easy, too:

  • $15/month for a membership plan, which includes one hour of daily free time. OR
  • $5 hourly for add’l time of as an occasional user.

Currently, the city of San Mateo is funding the program, however it is hoping that some sponsors will step forward.

“We see it as a solution both for commuters and for residents … even if you own your own bike, it’s a great way to access bikes at different locations.”

Follow Bay Bikes on social media to get the latest updates.


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