Transportation Authority Backpedals On Fullerton Bike Share Project

The Orange County Transportation Authority Monday cancelled a pilot bike share program in Fullerton after an analysis showed taxpayers were subsidizing the project to the tune of nearly $800 per bicycle ride.

The Transportation Authority’s board voted unanimously to cancel the program, which was supposed to enhance first and last mile connections to the city’s train station.

Before the vote, directors and staff described the program’s many shortcomings, which included: stations that didn’t work; clunky bicycles; and the lack of a large employer in Fullerton to provide riders. As a result, total checkouts averaged only 86 trips per month, or 1.2 per bicycle.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Authority spent $700,000 in state and federal grant funds to prop up the system, which was only a year in operation, according to OCTA staff comments recorded in the December minutes of the board’s transit committee meeting.

“This was a failure,” Director Tom Tait, who is also mayor of Anaheim, said at Monday’s meeting. “And not even close to making it.”

Cities from New York to Boulder to Tel Aviv have implemented bike share programs, which usually amount to a chain of kiosks throughout the city where people can rent and return bicycles. They’re seen as helping to alleviate gridlock on city streets and increasing connectivity.

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