Long Beach kicks bike-sharing program into high gear

LONG BEACH - The City of Long Beach is getting ready to launch a new bike-sharing program, but not everyone is behind the idea.The city has partnered with the Deco-Bike rental program, which allows customers to go to one of 40 kiosks that will be installed in Long Beach, insert a credit card, take a bike out of the rack and ride for about $4 an hour. When the ride is over, the bike can be returned to any of the 40 locations. City Manager Charles Theofan says Deco-Bike is not only a tourist attraction, but will also help reduce car traffic.However, some local bike shop owners, such as John Merritt of Buddy's Bikes, worry that the rental program would ruin their business while failing to bring in the promised revenue. "They expect to make $3 million by next year, or whatever," he says. "I mean, it's ridiculous."Long Beach officials say Deco-Bike has promised to install several bike-rental kiosks before the end of the summer. A full rental program will begin next April.

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