Lifestyle

DecoBike bicycle renting program begins in Gaslamp

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Ready to peddle 0ver to the Gaslamp? A bike sharing system has starting up this week, eventually to span most of San Diego. The very first, solar-powered, automated, credit-card accepting bicycle renting station came online at Sixth and E on Monday. More than a dozen bikes are available at the initial site.

DecoBike, LLC has come to a decade-long agreement with the city and plans to establish approximately 50 such bicycle-sharing stations by the end of November, most centered around the downtown area. The next phase of the project will be to expand that number to 180 by the end of 2014, and to place bike-renting posts from La Jolla and along the beaches down to San Ysidro, as well as near most major hotels and mass transit hubs.decobike2

Hundreds of somewhat similar bicycle-distributing programs are underway around the globe, including large operations in San Francisco, Boston, and New York City. This is the first such enterprise in America’s Finest City. In partnering with DecoBike, by way of allowing the stations to be installed on city property, San Diego hopes to see a payoff to the tune of more than $2 million during the ten-year run of the contract.

The service works by having patrons rent the bikes with a credit card (and eventually a smart phone), cruise on the vehicle for sight-seeing, errand-running, exercise, or just fun, then return the bicycle to any of the DecoBike stations, where it is immediately available to another rider.

decobike3One criticism of the way the program is being implemented in San Diego is that the costs, (Membership: 1 month for $50, 1 week for $35, 1 day for $15; Non-members: 2 hours for $12, 1 hour for $7 and 30 minutes for $5) are more expensive than in most other locations. The company has answered that the service in San Diego is not government-funded at all, with no subsidies or monies from taxes being used, and therefore has a slightly higher individual charge. Because of this, the city will make more money directly from the program than in other metropolitan areas. According to the Transportation Department of the city, all start-up costs have been paid by DecoBike, with no initial outlay of funds by the city.

For more information, go to DecoBike.

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