Decobike allows riders to rent a bike at an automated station and return it at another.
Decobike installed its first bicycle sharing station Monday at the intersection of E Street and Sixth Avenue. The station will have a fleet of 16 bicycles.
Roughly 50 stations will be fully deployed downtown by the end of the month, with plans of expanding to 180 stations throughout the city shortly after.
“It's pedal power…it’s a great way to get around,” said Decobike Director David Silverman.
Silverman said the program hopes to address congestion and parking issues downtown in addition to providing an eco-friendly option for residents and tourists.
“It's green, it's clean, it's healthy – we’re reducing the carbon footprint for the city,” Silverman said.
Manhattan, San Francisco and Boston have similar bike sharing programs, and this will be the first in San Diego.
The city signed a ten-year contract with Decobike and expects to make more than $2 million in revenue from the partnership. According to Bill Harris of the San Diego’s Transportation Department, Decobike paid for all start-up costs.
“It's something new, it's something interesting that both visitors and locals are going to be interested in," Harris said. "It’s going to draw more people in these business areas of downtown and Little Italy."
The cost for renting a bike starts at $5 for 30 minutes and goes up to $12 for two hours. Membership is also an option.
The automated stations are completely solar-powered and allow patrons to pay by credit card.