For years, Santa Barbara’s cadre of well-organized bicycle agitators dared only dream that a South Coast bike-share program might one day be possible. Now, the author of a just-released economic feasibility study on bike sharing estimates that UCSB might launch such a program within the year. “Things are moving so fast,” said study author Jack Ucciferri, that the results of his report, released only two weeks ago, might already be outdated.
Since 2007, bike-share programs have popped up in 119 American cities. In Santa Monica, a Hulu-sponsored commercial fleet of solidly built, bright-green utilitarian street bikes set up shop only 15 months ago and is already turning a profit. Like Uber, bike-share operations depend on GPS technology, credit cards, smart phones, and apps that alert users where the nearest bikes can be found. Commuters can join as members, pay a $25 monthly fee, and avail themselves of 90 minutes’ worth of bike-riding time a day. Nonmembers can use the bikes, as well, but the price tends to be higher.