City institutes shared bike program

Recently Palo Alto became one of the many cities in the Bay Area to pick up the Bay Area Bike Share program, which has already been implemented in a total of 200 cities worldwide. The Bike Share program allows commuters to rent bicycles from the five Bike Share kiosks now spread throughout Palo Alto. Currently the stations are located on Cowper St. near University Ave., on University Ave. near Emerson St., at the Palo Alto Caltrain station, at the California Ave. Caltrain station, and on Park Blvd. near Olive Ave. Among the five stations, Palo Alto currently has a total of 75 Bike Share bikes available for rent.

Currently, bike memberships are priced at $9 for a 24-hour membership, $22 for a three-day membership, $88 for an annual membership, and $99 for an annual membership paid in 12-month installments.

So far, the Bike Share program has racked up a total of 2,376 annual members and 4,793 casual members (24 hr. and three-day members) system-wide. However, Gunn Green Team co-president senior Mario Khosla believes that this relatively new concept can be marketed better. “I think that the Bay Area bike sharing service is a great idea; however, it would be more effective if more people knew about or used it,” Khosla said.

However, not everyone can rent a bike. According to the Bay Area Bike Share website, “[Bike Share] is available to everyone 18 years and older with a credit or debit card. The system is not just for tourists—Bike Share programs in cities all over the world are used by a wide range of people for an almost infinite variety of trips.” In addition to the age constraint, one must also be a member to use the Bike Share program. “Members can check out a bicycle from a network of automated stations, ride to the station nearest their destination, and leave the bicycle safely locked for someone else to use,” the Bike Share website explains. In addition, the system currently allows riders a 30-minute riding period and the maximum overtime fee will be charged at $150. Thus, this system is designed to allow riders to take short, quick trips. Unfortunately, if one decides to or accidentally keeps a Bike Share bike for more than 24 hours, the member will be charged $1,200 to his/her card that is registered into the system.

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