GoBike Network Set for Rapid Expansion

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), global bike share leader Motivate, Ford Motor Company, regional officials and scores of community members joined forces on June 28 in San Francisco to launch the region's new bike share system, Ford GoBike.

The rapidly expanding Ford GoBike network will soon become the second largest bike share network in the United States, and will improve regional transportation options, quality of life, health and affordability. Under the “Bike Share for All” access program, Ford GoBike is offering an introductory rate of just $5 for the entire first year of membership to qualifying low-income residents. Photo by Brent Arnold

BY BC STAFF

 

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), global bike share leader Motivate, Ford Motor Company, regional officials and scores of community members joined forces on June 28 in San Francisco to launch the region’s new bike share system, Ford GoBike.

 

The public celebration on the plaza across from San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building was a testament to the vision set forth by the MTC and the nation’s most forward-thinking mayors, who united to create what will become the second largest bike share network in the United States to improve regional transportation options, quality of life, health and affordability.

 

This event in June marked the start of a five-city buildout spree. By Labor Day, Ford GoBike will offer 3,500 bicycles at 332 stations. And when fully installed next year, the program will boast 7,000 bikes at 546 stations — spanning San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Berkeley and Emeryville. This tenfold expansion comes at no cost to taxpayers, and will bring bike sharing to the East Bay for the first time.

 

“Today is a testament to the growing bike revolution that is sweeping the nation and we are proud to be creating the nation’s second biggest bike share, guided by the aspirations of thousands of residents, local agencies and elected officials from across the Bay Area,” said Jay Walder, CEO of Motivate.

 

In his role as emcee at the event, Walder said that “Ford GoBike will be the most equitable bike share program in the United States.” Initially, MTC, Motivate and Ford agreed that 20 percent of the bikes would be positioned in disadvantaged neighborhoods. But under the deployment plan that ultimately materialized, nearly 35 percent of the stations will be in these communities. “Moreover, it’s going to be affordable to everyone,” Walder said.

 

Under the “Bike Share for All” access program, Ford GoBike is offering an introductory rate of just $5 for the entire first year of membership to qualifying low-income residents, as compared to a general annual membership fee of $149 (discounted to $124 a year during the introductory period for regular memberships). Residents lacking a credit or debit card can pay this modest fee in cash at a number of locations, including The Hub, a commuter service center located at MTC’s offices at the Bay Area Metro Center (375 Beale Street, San Francisco). Users can also buy a day pass or a single-ride pass rather than buying a year-long membership.

 

“Ford GoBike represents a valued new collaboration for Ford with the communities of the Bay Area where working together, we can enhance mobility for millions of residents, making it easier to get around the cities they love,” said Ford Motor Company’s Jessica Robinson, who also spoke at the event. “With Ford GoBike, we’re able to dramatically expand access to an urban mobility solution that’s accessible, affordable, sustainable and fun.”

 

Representing MTC at the San Francisco celebration was the agency’s chair, Rohnert Park Mayor Jake Mackenzie. He talked about the joy of being able to commute to MTC meetings in San Francisco via a transit-bike chain starting with the soon-to-open Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) from his hometown to San Rafael, followed by a short hop to a ferry that will cross the Bay to San Francisco, and cycling the last leg on a Ford GoBike. Helping to tie this bike-transit network together is MTC’s Clipper card, which can be used to ride 22 public transit systems around the region, and now can also be used to check out a bike from the Ford GoBike system (although Clipper cannot be used for bike share payments at the moment).

 

Subsequently, on July 11, officials from Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville were joined by MTC, Motivate, Ford Motor Company and community members in a public celebration at Latham Square in downtown Oakland to celebrate the arrival of the bike share program in the East Bay. Speakers at the event stressed that bike share is fast emerging as an essential element of 21st century urban transit systems, and innovative cities like those in the East Bay are on the cusp of a global trend.

 

Bay Area mayors have hailed the bike share network as a major step forward:

“As mayor of Oakland and an MTC commissioner, I’m proud that the Bay Area has truly baked social equity into our bike sharing program,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “By providing a very affordable option of just $5 for the first year, placing stations in communities of every income level, and hiring employees from the diverse communities it serves, Ford GoBike’s Bike Share For All program is on the fast track to becoming the most inclusive program of its kind in the county.”

 

“Bike sharing helps reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and make neighborhoods more livable,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “Ford GoBike makes this mode of transportation a safe, accessible and convenient option for residents and communities across San Francisco.”

 

•    “Nearly 10 percent of Berkeley’s residents already use bikes to get to work, more than any other U.S. city with a population of over 100,000,” said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin. “Increasing bike usage offers many public benefits, such as reducing our dependence on greenhouse gas-emitting fuels and improving public health. I’m proud of Berkeley’s leadership in making bicycles a choice for so many commuters, and I’m grateful for a Ford GoBike system that will enable us to build on that success.”

 

   “As a longtime advocate for a bike-friendly Emeryville, I’m excited that Ford GoBike is coming to the East Bay,” said Emeryville Mayor Scott Donahue. “Bike share will greatly reduce the time it’ll take to commute to and from Emeryville — and it’ll reduce traffic congestion on our streets.”

 

•    “This expansion of Ford GoBike benefits our residents by reducing traffic, improving air quality, and making it easier for commuters to connect to transit,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who represents his city on MTC. “With over 80 stations coming to San Jose and 546 Ford GoBike stations in the Bay Area, more families will be able to grab a bike and take healthier trips to their favorite destinations.”

 

 

Ford GoBike creates an entirely new layer for the Bay Area’s transportation network, one that complements and extends existing transit options, in a flexible, environmentally-friendly and healthy way — all at no cost to taxpayers. Members can now grab a bike in the East Bay, ride to BART or a ferry, dock, cross the Bay and then grab a bike at a station on the other side and keep going.

       

Ford GoBike riders can sign up for their choice of membership options at FordGoBike.com; or through the Ford GoBike or FordPass mobile apps (both available for download for iPhone and Android devices); or by using a debit or credit card at any Ford GoBike station. Riders can then unlock a bike using the Ford GoBike mobile app or by linking any Clipper card to their account.

Ford GoBike riders can sign up for their choice of membership options at FordGoBike.com, through mobile apps or by using a debit or credit card at any Ford GoBike station. Photo by Noah Berger

The Ford GoBike network’s rollout in Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville this summer marks the first time bike share has been available in the East Bay. Photo by Brent Arnold