SANTA MONICA—Santa Monica based bike share program Breeze will stop its operations at on November 11, 2020.
As stated in the email to its customers, the city announced its closure after five years of operation. The bikes will be sold, donated or recycled. Ridership, along with its revenue, decreased as there was a growth of many other private micro-mobility options such as rentals from Bird, Lime, Lyft and Jump. These additional private companies and rentals made it more challenging for the city to invest more into the public system, combined with the extra COVID-19 induced difficulties. Many of the Breeze bikes are also approaching the time of a natural life cycle before repairs can no longer keep them from safely functioning.
The bikeshare program was funded through a partnership with Hulu which covered 60-70 percent of the total cost. The remaining funds come through the customers who pay to rent the bikes on a per minute basis. The overall cost of the system’s operations amounts up to a million dollars per year. The system has served about 149,000 riders.
“The reality is we got $2 Million in grant funds to set up the system and buy the bikes,” stated Francie Stefan to the Santa Monica Daily Press. “But the bikes were getting old and we needed another reinvestment into equipment infrastructure. That was going to be a substantial cost and typical grant agencies aren’t prioritizing it right now.”
A new bikeshare may be restarted if the city is able to secure additional funding for the new equipment. As for now, the private operators will be offering their devices in the cities.
“While Breeze operations will come to an end, the city remains committed to ensuring that shared e-scooters, e-bikes, and bikes continue to help us reduce congestion and emissions by providing a reliable and affordable transportation option for short trips around town. Both Bird and Lyft will continue to operate e-scooters, and by October 1, 2020 Lyft will launch a fleet of e-bikes in Santa Monica as part of the Shared Mobility Pilot Program,” stated the letter to customers.