City Says Total Cost of Defunct Pasadena Metro Bike Share Program Will Hit $2.6 Million

Published : Monday, September 24, 2018 | 4:44 AM

The City of Pasadena spent over $2.68 million funding the ill-fated Metro Bike Share program in Pasadena before pulling the plug last July.

Low ridership which produced less-than-projected revenue coupled with unanticipated cost overruns doomed the program.

City Transportation Director Frederick Dock, in a report sent to City Manager Steve Mermell late last week, said the costs included in-kind costs used to match Metro’s capital grants for the system in Pasadena as well as actual payments the City made to Metro, including the costs for removing Bike Share racks throughout Pasadena.

The City notified Metro in July it was ending the Bike Share program in the City, mainly due to a lack of revenue as a result of lackluster ridership, which at one point threatened the viability of Pasadena’s total transit operating budget.

On a monthly basis, the program was costing the City over $98,000 at the time the City pulled out of the program.

Under the Bike Share agreement, the City was required to put up 65 percent of the operating costs of the program. However, over the next few months after the program launched, the expected ridership level, and anticipated brand sponsorships that could have helped upset the costs, never materialized.

At a meeting of the Pasadena City Council on September 17, the Transportation Department was asked to provide details on the amounts the City has been spending for Bike Share and what funds have been used to pay for the program.

In his report, Dock said in-kind costs for Bike Share, which included right-of-way charges and parking meter charges, amounted to $598,193.

In October 2016, the City Council was presented with anticipated costs of over $2.68 million up to fiscal year 2018 in operating the Bike Share program in the City.

Dock said the costs were to be funded From Measure R Fund 236 alone which has an existing fund balance of $1,395,617 as of 2017. Second year costs for the two-year pilot program will be included in the fiscal year 2018 recommended operating budget, he said.

Last month, the Transportation Department said the City was looking at alternative bike share programs – including dockless systems – that would not be too costly to operate and would not be a drain in the pocket of bike riders.

An City Manager advisory also indicated the City was entertaining the thought of entering into a relationship with a dockless bike share operation, and was actually drafting regulations for managing such a system that’s now in use in many U.S. cities.


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