The DecoBike bike-sharing program that started this summer in Long Beach will roll into the fall.
Based on its success the first two months in the city, DecoBike will continue on its path until at least the end of October, said Bonifacio Diaz, DecoBike’s chief operating officer.
“It’s been very successful,” Diaz said. “People are catching on. It’s doing good.”
Diaz said there are close to 250 bikes at 14 designated kiosks throughout the city for rental use by residents and visitors to Long Beach.
Since the bikes were first set up in Long Beach on June 28, Diaz said, DecoBike has tracked between 250 and 275 rides per day.
“We will continue it as long as weather permits,” he said. “That could be at least until Halloween. At the end of October it’s still nice to ride a bike.”
He said the bikes were rolled out a little too late this year and DecoBike did not take full advantage of the bike-riding season. Next year, the bikes will be in place by Memorial Day, Diaz said. During the winter, the bikes will be stored in a warehouse in Baldwin, he added.
Next year DecoBike will attempt to implement the program as beach passes are handed out.
“This year we did it two months into the season,” Diaz said. “It should be much better next season. It’s an educational process. We’ll see how it works. It’s just a matter of getting the word out.”
Long Beach officials bid for DecoBike, the Miami Beach-based company, and won the right for the company to set up shop at the train station and mostly commercial areas in the city. Last summer, the City Council approved a five-year contract with DecoBike to start and operate the citywide program. The contract includes corporate sponsorship and advertising, and the city will receive 10 percent of the company’s gross revenue and advertising incomes.
Edwards Boulevard has three kiosk stations set up. The train station can hold the most bikes with 48, Diaz said.
“Long Beach is a great location,” he said. “It’s the closest beach to Manhattan. They come directly from the train and go by bike directly to the beach. They could also take a bike ride in the West End.”
The rental rates range from $4 for 30 minutes to $24 for eight hours. Long Beach residents can purchase a $20 monthly bike pass for unlimited 30-minute rides. Renters can pay only by credit card at the solar-powered meters.
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Long Beach resident Kim Guida said she loves the program but has experienced problems with the credit card system, adding that she wishes the kiosks would accept cash.
Diaz said he has not heard of any problems with the machines and said that could easily be solved by getting a membership card.
“I think it's a great idea and I saw them being used all the time on the boardwalk,” resident Laurie Kulikowski said of the bike-sharing program in response to a question posed about it on Patch’s Facebook page. “I'm not sure if that would carry over into other seasons but I think it's a great summer activity.”
Mariella Scozzari wrote that she absolutely loved it. “Hope it continues especially if you have company over and you all want to ride around town and don't have to lose a good parking spot. It's great exercise.”
Lisa Ritchie wrote that while it’s great to promote cycling, she would like to see the program supply biking helmets.
“Most of the riders are tourists and it seems aside from the boardwalk, they can be a bit dangerous and distracted,” Ritchie wrote. “I'd rather see local bike shops rent them than a company from Miami.”