City Council Directs a Second Permit-Based Shared Mobility Pilot for Santa Monica

March 10, 2021 9:36 AM

At its meeting last night, the Santa Monica City Council approved a second permit-based Shared Mobility Pilot Program in Santa Monica.  Pursuant to Council direction, staff will issue a Request for Applications (“RFA”) seeking up to four shared mobility operators to operate in Santa Monica from July 1, 2021, through March 30, 2023, as part of Santa Monica’s commitment to being a multi-modal city. Council also cleared the use of Class I and II and electric bikes on Santa Monica’s portion of the beach bike path.

“We’ve always taken a flexible approach to shared mobility given how quickly the industry and community needs shift,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “What has not changed is the value these devices bring in offering residents and visitors a convenient, accessible alternative to cars that can reduce vehicle congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Santa Monica is committed to safe, sustainable, and affordable transportation, and these values will guide the second pilot and future contracting process.”

City Council’s discussion and 5-2 vote prioritized improving device quality, safety, and technological advancements since the commencement of the first pilot. An RFA process similar to that undertaken for the first pilot will be done this spring.

Santa Monica is widely recognized as the birthplace of shared mobility—the City’s pioneering Breeze Bike Share program launched in 2015 as the first in Los Angeles County, and dockless e-scooters were first deployed in Santa Monica in 2017 before becoming a worldwide phenomenon. The City’s current Shared Mobility Pilot Program has served as a model for cities across the country, and has generated more than 4.5 million trips since its launch in 2018.

Following the pilot program, the City will move to a contract-based system to begin on March 31, 2023, following the conclusion of the second pilot. 

Council also removed the prohibition of Class I and II electric bicycles on the City’s Beach Bike Path in light of expanded beach path capacity north of the Pier, and to support the growing number of people riding their own Class I and II e-bikes for commuting and recreation. Geo-fencing requirements to prohibit shared e-scooters on the Beach Bike Path remain in place, along with the prohibition of other electric device types on the path. Class I and II e-bikes have a speed limit of 20 mph on the beach bike path; Class III e-bikes, which have a higher top speed, remain prohibited by state law.

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