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12/20/2012: "Bikeshare Program Announced in Los Angeles"
With Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and local Council Member Ed Reyes on hand, SoCal bikeshare company BikeNation today announced the upcoming rollout of Los Angeles's first bicycle-sharing program, to be implemented with no financial contribution from the City itself.

The announcement was made in conjunction with a bike and helmet give-away at the Eastside Boys and Girls Club, which both the Mayor and the Councilman attended as youngsters.

Here's the press release from BikeNation describing the evening:
December 20, 2012 (Los Angeles, CA) Bike Nation announced today its plans for its 2013 rollout of Los Angeles' first major bike share program. The system will officially launch in Downtown in April 2013. Last week, the LA City Council unanimously passed a motion that directs staff to create a permit process for Bike Nation's bike sharing stations to be placed in the public right of way. Bike Nation is currently working with the City for all necessary approval processes and permitting that will pave the way for the company to implement its privatized bike share business model. Unlike other North American bike share programs, Bike Nation is able to privately fund the bike sharing program without the requirement of any government funding or subsidies and will monetize the program through membership and usage, sponsorship and advertising.

Earlier this year, Bike Nation created a website where the general public can have input on the station locations in Downtown through its Suggest a Station website. The Southern California-based privately-funded bike share company has previously announced plans to install up to 4,000 bikes and 400 stations throughout Los Angeles.

The announcement was made during a bike giveaway to the 8 to 12 year old participants of the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club bike program by Bike Nation executives, with L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Bike Nation's Community Ambassador and L.A. Clippers forward Caron Butler on-hand.

"We are excited to put stations on the ground in Downtown Los Angeles and begin the process of rolling out our bike share program and providing a safe, low-cost, healthy transportation alternative to Los Angeles residents," said Derek Fretheim, Bike Nation Chief Operating Officer. "The Company has already begun its site planning in anticipation of the City Council Motion and created a sample permit package consisting of initial station locations."

"I am happy to serve as Bike Nation Ambassador and today's event is just one example of things to come," said Butler. "Bicycling and youth fitness has been a passion of mine for many years now. I am excited that through this bike-sharing program people will have the opportunity to consider biking as a viable transportation option while also becoming more fit."

Los Angeles Clippers Forward and Two-Time NBA All-Star Caron Butler was named Community Ambassador for Bike Nation in August 2012. Butler, founder of Caron's Bike Brigade, is a longtime supporter of cycling in order to encourage healthy living.

The initial preliminary Downtown station locations will include:
Bike Nation recently has already installed multiple stations in Anaheim and is expect to open the system to the public in early January. The bike share company has also previously announced extensive bike share programs in Fullerton and Long Beach, which will be launching in 2013. Bike Nation user memberships are transferable to any city within its bike share systems.

Bike Nation manufacturers its own bikes, which are chainless and feature active GPS technology and airless tires, reducing the need for on-road service. The kiosks are modular, portable, wirelessly connected and solar powered so that monitoring and load balancing is easily managed. Bike Nation's kiosks, docks, station platforms are made in Orange County and its bikes are manufactured in the United States. The company is supporting and sustaining local manufacturing jobs and projects to create over 150 service jobs through 2013.

The bike share system is made up of self-service kiosks where individuals can rent and return a bicycle anywhere within a network of stations. Stations are located in close proximity for quick trips where users live, work and visit. The usage fees for the bike share system are incentivized for turnover and trips of less than 30 minutes in duration with an average single 24-hour membership priced at $6, with discounts for three-day ($12), weekly ($25), monthly ($35), yearly ($75) and yearly student/senior rentals ($50).

Incorporated in 2009, Bike Nation provides privately funded public bike sharing systems to cities, agencies and other entities. The company is considered a leader in the bike share industry by providing fourth generation technology and bikes. Bike Nation strives to offer a convenient, affordable, user-friendly and healthy alternative to polluting forms of transportation that become part of the overall transportation fabric within the community it services. The company is headquartered in Tustin, California. Bike Nation has created a unique model in which it can provide municipalities a fully-operational bike sharing program without the use of government funding or subsidies.

For more information on Bike Nation, please visit our website homepage.
I can't say I'm enthusiastic about their first set of kiosk sites (except for Union Station, which is across the street from La Plaza), but the word is that they'll expand rapidly. Really, though&mdash: police headquarters? CalTrans?

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