- Associated Press - Thursday, July 7, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles rolled out a downtown bicycle-sharing program Thursday, offering rentals at dozens of locations with hopes to expand across the region.

The city is a relative late-comer to bike sharing, which encourages residents and visitors alike to choose two wheels over four when taking shorter trips in densely populated areas.

Mayor Eric Garcetti joined dozens of cyclists for a ceremony in Grand Park to kick off the $11 million program, approved a year ago by the City Council.

An agreement between the city and Los Angeles County’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority creates up to 65 bike-sharing stations. Riders can pick up a bike from a kiosk, hop on, and then leave it near their destination for someone else to use.

The city agreed to cover around 65 percent of operating costs, but it hopes to offset it through user fees and by selling advertising.

Those fees vary from a 30-day pass for $20, with rentals of longer than 30 minutes costing more, to a walk-up fee of $3.50 for half an hour.

If the program is successful, it could grow beyond the downtown core. A similar program began in Santa Monica last November.

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