Shared Mobility Continues to Evolve in Santa Monica
August 17, 2020 11:20 AM
by Constance Farrell
Like much in 2020, shared mobility services have undergone significant change in Santa Monica. In March 2020 as the Safer at Home orders were put in place, two of the permitted shared mobility operators—Jump and Lime—permanently discontinued their e-scooter and e-bike service in the City.
Then, in May 2020, City Council decided to extend the Shared Mobility Pilot Program until April 30, 2021 to allow the City and the remaining operators—Bird and Lyft—time to assess and adjust to the new challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March, both operators have increased the daily frequency with which they clean and sanitize their fleets, and have continued to provide their services as a safe transportation option when people want to maintain physical distance from others, but may not want to revert to driving alone.
Through all the uncertainty, the City has remained committed to ensuring that shared e-scooters, e-bikes, and bikes continue to help us reduce congestion and emissions by providing a reliable and affordable transportation option for short trips around town. But shared mobility continues to evolve in 2020. And even more changes are on the way. Here’s what you can expect.
The Shared Mobility Pilot Program
When Bird initially launched shared e-scooters in 2017, Council saw the technology’s potential to move people in a new way and directed staff to create a pilot program to test one of the country’s first sets of local regulations for e-scooters and e-bikes. Since its launch, the pilot program has generated over 4 million trips.
When stay-at-home orders took effect, all movement around the City including vehicle trips drastically declined. Shared mobility ridership declined by roughly 94% between February and April 2020. After Lime and Jump terminated service in last Spring, the City was left with fewer operators and devices overall, and no shared e-bike option.
Now that ridership has steadily climbed back to an average of nearly 20,000 trips per week Bird and Lyft have increased their fleet sized back to 750 e-scooters each to meet demand. And because Lyft was originally selected to be permitted to operate 500 e-bikes (which were never originally launched), the City has allowed Lyft to operate 500 e-bikes as part of the pilot program. The new Lyft e-bikes will launch by October 1, 2020.
For more information on how to sign up for the Lyft e-bikes and payment plan options you can download the Lyft mobile app or contact Lyft customer service at (877) 452-6699.
Farewell to Breeze
Breeze Bike Share has been a valued feature of Santa Monica’s mobility system for the last five years and demonstrated that shared mobility works in Santa Monica. The program has served over 149,000 riders like you, who have ridden nearly 1 million trips, and highlighted the importance of bicycling in our community. The system paved the way for how shared mobility could operate by instituting innovative smart bikes that gave users convenience, flexibility, and reliability.
That is why we are sad to say that Breeze Bike Share operations will end on November 11, 2020. With considerable new financial constraints caused by COVID-19, and because the bike share equipment is approaching the end of its useful life, the City is no longer able to own and operate the system.
The City appreciates the collective community effort it took to launch the system and wants to thank the thousands of Breeze members that have supported the system over the years, the system operator Cyclehop, LA Metro and the Air quality Management District who paid for the purchase of the bikes and equipment, and a generous title sponsorship from Hulu that helped cover the cost of operations.
The bike share equipment will be sold, donated, and/or recycled in the coming months and removed from the streets by the end of November. The Breeze Bike Share stations will be repurposed as additional shared mobility drop zones. Annual members who have renewed their membership in the last year may be entitled to a prorated refund. Beverly Hills Bike Share members’ subscriptions will remain intact, and they will still have access to the Beverly Hills Bike Share system.
For more information about the Breeze Bike Share system or your account contact Breeze customer service at (310) 828-2525.