San Diego

Del Mar Taps Gotcha for North County Bike-Share Program

Although scooters will not be allowed during the pilot program, this could eventually pave the way for them as well

Residents in the North County are one step closer to having their own fleet of ride-share bicycles after the city of Del Mar secured a company to conduct a pilot program that could open up transportation options for the region. 

Gotcha Ride, LLC was selected by a 5-0 city council vote Monday to be the sole ride-share vendor for the city of Del Mar, through a pilot program that could pave the way for expansion to Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside, through a partnership with the North County Transit District and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).

In the city of Del Mar alone, Gotcha will install about 12 bike stations, nine across the city and three at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, with up to 75 dockless three-speed bikes. The stations may be bike racks or corrals like ones recently added in the city of San Diego

After the one-year pilot program expected to get underway this summer, the cities will evaluate whether to extend or expand the program. Although scooters will not be allowed during the pilot program, this could eventually pave the way for them as well.

Del Mar chose Gotcha because they best fit six areas of criteria, according to the city's staff report: experience, approach, availability, capability to perform, relevant experience and innovation. The city also considered partnering with BCycle, DecoBike, CycloShare, LimeBike, Spin, and Ofo.

Users who utilyze the Gotcha app will be provided with incentives for following rules outlined by the company and the North County cities and will be penalyzed for not following them. Gotcha will regulate through the use of geo-fencing and a dedicated support team will be required to respond to complaints or issues. 

The ride-share program will be paid for through user fees and potentially advertising on the bikes themselves, the city report said. 

The city has been working out the the program's details for more than a year

The city of San Diego has been struggling with how to regulate an influx of motorized scooter and bike companies that has prompted complaints from residents. Last week, the city council approved more regulations that are meant to cut down on accidents and nuisances. 

So far, Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas are the only ones who have formally signed on to the program though several of the North County cities have already passed ordinances to establish the bike-share system. Some cities plan to have the program up and running this summer, though Oceanside said their partnership will not launch before the fall.

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