Bicycle sharing program to debut in 2011

On Thursday SF Appeal reported on California’s first regional bicycle sharing program that is set to make its debut in the Bay Area in 2011.

With the help of multi-million dollar grants from transportation and air quality agencies, 1,000 bikes at 100 kiosks will be installed throughout the Bay Area – 50 of which are slated to be in San Francisco.

The $7 million pilot program will receive about $4.3 million from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and $1.4 million from other partners. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which is managing the project, is putting up $1.3 million.

Aaron Richardson, spokesman for the management district, told SF Appeal the initiative will work like a car sharing program, where registered users will potentially use smart cards or rent the bikes with credit cards.

"These would be bikes you would use for a short trip to complete a BART ride. It's not like a bike you'd be renting for the weekend," he said.

The New York Times says the program will be more like Zipcar than other bike-sharing systems, such as the one in Paris, which are based on an honor system.