SANTA MONICA—As shared transit devices’ use has increased in the past week through bikes or electric scooters, the city of Santa Monica announced an increase in Bird and Lyft scooters, as well as the beginning of a Lyft e-bike program.
On Monday, August 17, Santa Monica Bike Share Coordinator Kyle Kozar announced that after shared mobility ridership has steadily increased to 20,000 trips per week, both Bird and Lyft will be increasing their scooter fleet, within Santa Monica, to 750 due to increased demand.
The Santa Monica’s Breeze Bike Share program ends on November 11, Lyft will operate 500 e-bikes in Santa Monica by October 1. According to the city of Santa Monica, due to “considerable new financial constraints caused by COVID-19, and because the bike share equipment is approaching the end of its useful life,” Breeze Bike Share will be ending.
A 2020 SCAG report showed both public and private transportation decreases since COVID-19 shutdowns began. Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus monthly ridership decreased 73 percent in April and March compared to the same time last year. Santa Monica reported that shared mobility ridership declined 94 percent between February and April 2020. This past spring, both Lime and Jump pulled their scooter and bike services mid pandemic.
All Breeze Bike Share equipment will either be sold, donated, or recycled after removal from the streets in November. Annual members who renewed their membership this past year may be entitled to a prorated refund.
Since Breeze Bike Share’s beginning, the program has seen over 149,000 riders and over 1 million trips.
“The system paved the way for how shared mobility could operate by instituting innovative smart bikes that gave users convenience, flexibility, and reliability,” said Kozar.
“The reality is we got $2 Million in grant funds to set up the system and buy the bikes,” said 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.”