Almost one-third of bicycles provided through the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s taxpayer-funded Bike Share program have been stolen or stripped for parts, CBS Los Angeles reporter David Goldstein discovered in a recent investigation. The bike share program has been in place for approximately three years, and has cost taxpayers approximately $36 million, shared in part by transportation agency, the city of Los Angeles and the Port of Los Angeles. The bicycles cost $1,850 to $2,500 each.
Thousands of the bicycles have been placed around the city in electronic racks that can be unlocked using an app with a credit or debit card, at a cost of $5 a day.
“Our investigation has found the bicycles are being stolen at an alarming rate,” Goldstein said. “A document obtained by CBS2 shows a total of 973 bikes are missing or have been stolen from the bike share program. That accounts for 32 percent of the fleet with a cost of over $1.7 million.”
Officials acknowledged that some people have figured out a way to cheat the system by using a prepaid credit card. Goldstein found several bicycles in homeless encampments. “Many were found camouflaged with spray paint, while others stripped down,” he reported.
The transportation authority said a private company that runs the program is responsible for fixing the bicycles, but Goldstein noted they “won’t say how many cannot be fixed due to vandalism or how many of the stolen bikes have been replaced.”