The City of Pasadena pulled out of the program on July 11 after ridership and revenue were so low Pasadena’s Department of Transportation found itself pouring almost $100,000 a month into the program to cover its costs.
The City’s average monthly cost for the program for the past 10 months, even after being offset by farebox revenues, has been about $98,000 per month. City staff had projected an impending total shortfall of $240,000 by the end of the current contract term in October, a City memorandum said in early July.
Ridership flatlined after an initially successful launch in July of 2017. The program enjoyed a high of 10,764 rides last September, then suffered a rapid and steady decline to 3,826 in December. In May of 2018, there were 6,547 rides.
Metro, in its initial Memorandum of Understanding with the City, had projected a 60% farebox revenue return by the City. This would have meant $1,729,094 in revenue to the City in the first two years of operations. From August of 2017 to April of 2018, however, farebox revenue—meant to offset the costs of building and maintaining the service—dipped from 10% of costs to a mere 5.5% of costs.
On top of the monthly costs, Pasadena paid Metro $468, 411 from its Measure R funds back in July of 2017 to cover initial operation and maintenance costs, before the bike stations were actually installed.
By last month, the Bike Share program’s costs began to threaten the viability of the City’s Transportation entire fiscal budget, causing Department Director Fred Dock to pull the plug on Pasadena’s participation.
Pasadena City staff are researching regulations on managing dockless electric and/or pedal-assisted bikes or scooters, such as Bird Scooters, as used in Santa Monica, or a dockless bike system, paired with Lyft ride-sharing, as is used in Monrovia.
Meanwhile, Metro Bike Share continues to operate with new lower fares at all of its other existing locations within the County, including Downtown Los Angeles, University Park, Expo Park, Venice, Santa Monica, and the Port of Los Angeles.
Metro’s email touted that the service is now expanding into additional Los Angeles County communities.