San Francisco's Bike-Sharing Snack

5 hours, 7 bikes

San Francisco got a brief taste of two-wheeled ride sharing over the weekend.

For a few hours, a handful of aluminum-framed, three-geared bicycles were available at Golden Gate Park to help people get around without cars.

The seven bikes were part of a pilot program called Bixi that allows participants to swipe a credit card or pre-paid pass on a portable solar-powered machine to unlock a bike from one station and drop it off at another.

The name Bixi -- a combination of the words bike and taxi -- comes from Montreal's public bike transit system. The Brandenburger Foundation of Newport Beach is working to expand the program into West Coast cities including Long Beach, San Jose and Portland, Ore.

Hundreds of people tested out system Sunday but the plan is on hold as the City waits for an environmental impact report after a critic said adding new bike lanes and eliminating dozens of parking spots could acutally hurt the environment.

Mayor Gavin Newsom in January announced a $500,000 pilot program featuring 50 bikes located at five stations on private property but some critics say the program is too small.

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