Santa Monica Gets L.A. County's First Ever Bike-Share Program

The wheels are finally turning. L.A. County's first public bike-share program recently launched in Santa Monica as part of a test run.

Santa Monica is using Breeze "smart bikes," where you basically check out a bike from a hub, take a short trip, and then drop it off (tethered) at different locations throughout Santa Monica, not necessarily back at a Breeze hub, according to Santa Monica Next. The technology in the bikes allows Cyclehop, LLC, the company operating the bicycles, to locate them and pick them up. There will be different costs associated with dropping it at a hub, dropping it at a location within 100 feet of a hub, or out of the service area (which is the most costly choice).

There are currently 31 of Breeze's smart bikes located at seven hubs throughout Santa Monica. The limited test run started on August 13 and will continue until September 13. During this test run, only founding members are allowed to use the bicycles. So far, there are about 80 members, though Cyclehop is still taking in more founding members until August 31. To apply for a founding membership during the test run, send an email to outreach@breezebikeshare.com. The memberships cost $99, and that allows for you to use the bike-share program for a year, with 60 minutes of daily riding time, and other perks, according to a City of Santa Monica release.

Then in November, Cyclehop will launch the full program, where 500 smart bicycles will be at 75 stations throughout Santa Monica, with up to five of them in Venice.

Some of the test-run hubs are located by Third Street Promenade, Arizona Avenue and 16th Street, and Montana Avenue and 16th Street. Here's the map showing the seven hubs. For a bigger version of the map, click here.

Once the full bike-share program rolls out, hopefully in early November, then basic plans can be purchased. Basic plans range from $6 per hour for a ride (a pay as you go service) to $20 per month for 30 minutes of daily biking. You can also purchase upgrades for longer rides. However, you can buy a founding membership now through December 31 for $99 per year which gives you 60 minutes of daily biking. After that, it'll cost $119 per year for 30 minutes of daily biking. And starting after January 1, 2016, Santa Monica residents can score a discount membership, which would be $79 per year for 30 minutes of biking, and $99 for 60 minutes of biking. More info can be found here.

In June, Metro approved a similar bike-share program, with plans to bring 1,100 bikes to downtown L.A. in 2016. However, with theirs, you would have to actually drop off the bikes at designated kiosks.