Breeze, Santa Monica’s new bike-share system, operated by CycleHop, and the first public system in L.A. County, has launched a new website in anticipation of the system’s test-run starting next week.
Through the website, you can already sign up as a “founding member” as well as see where the initial seven bike-share hubs will be located during the test run, scheduled for August 13 to September 30. Founding members get a discount on a 12-month membership and the option to participate in the test run.
The full system, with 500 bikes and 80 stations in Santa Monica and Venice, is on track to launch in November, a year after the Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously to approve the contract with CycleHop.
“For a limited time you can become a founding member and enjoy a year of bike share for only $99 and receive some sweet Breeze gear while supplies last,” according to the Breeze website. That $99 gets you 24-hour access to Breeze bikes and 60 minutes of daily maximum ride time.
The website also has a map of the initial seven hubs, located at Pier and Main; Clover Park; Main Street and Avenida Mazatlan; Arizona Ave and 4th Street; Arizona Avenue and 16th Street; 16th Street and Montana Avenue; and Broadway and Cloverfield Boulevard.
The website also has a really convenient — and visually pleasing — explanation of how to use the system.
There is also a fee schedule for other types of memberships, but those won’t be available until closer to the full-system launch in November, according to the website.
Breeze will use a “smart-bike” system instead of a “smart-hub” system, which means that the main computer is onboard the bike rather than in the stationary hub. That gives riders the freedom to tether the bike nearby if a hub is full rather than seeking out another hub with open slots. Users are charged an extra $2 if they leave the bike outside of the range of a hub and $20 if they leave a bike outside the system area. Users can get a $1 credit for returning a bike to a hub.
Metro has begun moving forward with its own bike-share system, which will use an incompatible “smart-hub” system. Metro is expected to launch a 1,000-bike pilot program in Downtown L.A. next year, but some are concerned that the incompatibility of the systems will create unnecessary problems in the future as Metro expands its bike-share program to areas where other systems like Breeze are already operating.
But it’s unclear how long that could take.