e-bike fleet (via austinevan)
In the City of San Francisco, going for a bike ride is exceptionally picturesque. But the steep hills may deter the non-enthusiasts from using their bikes as a viable means of transportation. A solution that lessens the physical stress and could influence some to take on biking is making electric bikes available for rent. The car sharing program City CarShare, in San Fransisco, plans on making 45 e-bikes available for daily rentals by the end of this year and 45 more in 2013. The program is receiving funds from the Federal Highway Administration’s Value Pricing Pilot Program, which is aiming at lowering traffic, pollutions and dependence of fossil fuels by variable pricing, meaning that prices can be bargained or negotiated.
The San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency received 1.5 million dollars, $760,000 of which will go to the City CarShare program to fund 40% of the cost for 90 e-bikes scattered in 25 locations for three years.
The cost for renting a bike will be 50-70 percent lower than renting a car. Currently, customers pay as little as 5 dollars per hour and a monthly fee of 10 dollars for cars. City CarShare wants to make convenience their first priority before profit. Since bikes will be required to be returned to their original stations, City CarShare explained they will make low fees for keeping it over night to lessen the financial burden and increase convenience.
The other part of the funding will be devoted towards answering when and why individuals chose to rent out e-bikes instead of cars. The research will be conducted by UC Berkley and will attempt to analyzing the long term impact and performance of the project. Bike rentals are not unheard of, but the company City CarShare is venturing into new territory by offering e-bike and car rentals. The outcome of this trial is sure to influence other cities and companies to take on similar programs.
I would like to see this e-bike rental program to spread. There have been so many times where a e-bike would have been so useful for commuting in my city. I just do not want to buy and house a $300+ dollar bike at the moment.