Finally. LA Metro Bikes Cost The Same As The Bus And The Train

L.A. Metro's bike-share program is getting cheaper and more convenient as ridership sags and private dockless bikes and scooters multiply. (Photo by Dianne Yee/Flickr)

Riders no longer have to shell out double the cost of a transit fare for the pleasure of pedaling around town on a Metro bike.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has slashed bike-share fares as it struggles to compete with cheaper dockless bicycle and scooter alternatives offered by private companies like Lime, ofo and Bird.

Earlier this week, Metro lost the ridership fight in Pasadena, where low usage numbers forced the city to pull out of the bike-share program because it could no longer afford to pay for the system.

Pasadena will end bike sharing at the end of July with plans to open the door to private dockless companies instead.

Metro's new fare structure, effective Thursday, cuts the one-time, walk-up fee for a 30-minute ride from $3.50 to $1.75, the same price as a base fare on the agency's buses and trains.

Metro will also offer a $5 day pass, which allows unlimited 30-minute rides for a day. The monthly pass has been reduced from $20 to $17. A new unlimited annual pass for $150 will be available later this year.

Metro will also then offer steep discounts to seniors, students, low-income and disabled people with $5 monthly passes and $50 annual passes.

L.A. Metro's new fares for bike-share

TAP PAYMENT AND TRANSFERS COMING SOON

While the $1.75 fare is still a tad more expensive than most private competitors, which charge as little as $1 an hour, Metro will soon offer a feature no private company has: the ability to pay with a TAP card, the same payment system used for buses and trains.

Users can currently use their TAP cards to unlock the bikes, but only if they have a bike-share monthly pass with credit card on file. The new system will allow full payment through the TAP card exactly as if it were an extension of the transit system. Metro hopes the new system will be more convenient and equitable, not to mention cheaper, to attract more users.

Riders will be able to transfer onto or off of bikes the same way they do with buses and trains. So within a two-hour window you could take a train to a bike or a bike to a bus for the same $1.75 fare.

The new payment system also means that riders won't have to put a credit card down in order to check out a bike, which was a major barrier for those who don't have credit or bank cards or don't want to give out their card information.

METRO WILL ALSO GO DOCKLESS, KINDA

Metro currently operates bike sharing in downtown L.A., Venice/West L.A., San Pedro and soon-to-close Pasadena.

In the coming months, Metro will expand its downtown system further south to the area around USC, transferring existing bikes from those stations that have underperformed.

By the end of the year, the program will expand to Culver City and Marina del Rey, where Metro will roll out a new bike model that will not require docking at a designated station.

Much like the public systems in Santa Monica and Long Beach, the new smart bikes can be dropped off anywhere for an additional price, although there will be incentives to leave them in designated areas. Metro will service and clean the bikes to avoid the type of complaints that have plagued dockless systems.


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