While We Were Away: The Embarrassing Fullerton Bike Share Story


An acquaintance reminded me the the other day of the ridiculous OCTA “Bike Share” program of a couple years ago – one of the most embarrassing boondoggles on record, and proof that regional government agencies are just as bad as our own city when it comes to throwing our money away.

The OCTA is always ready, able and willing to waste money – some of it comparatively small amounts, and some of it (think ARTIC) monstrously large. The common theme is that hardly anybody knows about it before the dough is blown, or after because the mainstream media is so good at keeping government unaccountable.

This is the tale of Bike Share, a supposedly “green” initiative, and thus free from the constraints of economic common sense.

The Roll Out. Nelson assures a skeptical Flory that the bike is up to the task…

Back in 2012 OCTA invested in a program where people could rent bicycles from a public rack and return them. To somebody it seemed like a plausible idea. The OCTA chose our city as the test lab because of all the college kids who like to take a commuter train to Fullerton.

Pringle’s Krew: It’s dirty work, but someone’s gotta do it…

Surprise! Bike Nation, a client of Curt Pringle and Associates (the current employer of Council-lobbyist Jennifer Fitzgerald) got the contract to run the program. Better qualified vendors were rejected by the OCTA Board. And the cooperative guy who made the motion to approve Bike Nation and proceed with the program?  None other than our own 4th District Supervisor Shawn Nelson. According to the Voice of OC, the cost of the program was $700,000; the per bike ride subsidy was an astonishing $800.

The forced, painful smile betrayed the awful truth: the bikes were made for political posing, not for riding.

At the end of a couple years the magnitude of the Bike Share stupidity became clear. Almost no one signed up for the membership subscription and almost nobody was using the bicycles, bikes that were heavy and unwieldy. Some of them broke down after they had been washed.  The vendor blamed the OCTA, the OCTA blamed the vendor; but we paid for it.

And Nelson? He didn’t return a Voice of OC call asking for comment.

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  1. #1 by Just Off Euclid on January 25, 2017

    $800 per bike ride?

    Nelson? Still posing an agent of conservative accountability probably.

    • #2 by Anonymous on January 25, 2017

      Just like his 300 pound sack of shit in a 150 pound bag twin Bruce Whitaker who wants his job and hasn’t ridden a bicycle since the invention of the TV dinner.

      • #3 by just a guy on January 25, 2017

        The topic at hand is lobbyists and their idiotic projects. Try to keep up.

        • #4 by Anonymous on January 25, 2017

          You just told us in the previous post that Bruce wants the chair, Whitaker and his buddy Nelson-still posing agents of conservative accountability probably. Yes Bruce is a fraud and not one of you on this site will admit that, Anonymous makes valid points. Why do you think Jennifer was re elected?

          • #5 by Fullerton Old Timer on January 25, 2017

            What chair? What does furniture have to do with anything?

            Whitaker and nelson are not buddies since Bruce blew the whistle on Nelson’s homeless shelter next to an elementary school.

            Let’s face it, the only thing Whitaker ever did to piss you kooks off is to get rid of levinson who was a ticking time bomb.

            • #6 by Anonymous on January 25, 2017

              Ah yes so you agree that firing the only one on the commission that was doing his job uncovering missing millions is getting rid of a ticking time bomb. You have just admitted that you and Bruce are frauds. Perhaps those that run this site with their hatred of Mr. Levinson are anti-semetic? I can really see no other good reason for his mistreatment here.

              • #7 by Jim Kent on January 25, 2017

                Being anti-semetic(sic) is a good reason for doing something? Are you projecting?

          • #8 by Radiation Man on January 25, 2017

            Hi, Joe! Unfortunately, you are a fraud yourself. You spent an entire campaign talking about how you were going to stop overdevelopment but now you are completely missing in action. Oh, and take your signs down already! The election was over four months ago. Bruce was able to get off his ass and do it, why can’t you?

            • #9 by Anonymous on January 25, 2017

              What makes you think I am Joe? By the way, why does anyone who speaks against the frauds like Bruce get labeled radiation man or nutter? Why are you so afraid of little Joe? You must be missing in action because radiation man was at the council meeting and spoke against what the four amigos passed. Go to his you tube channel. Time for you all to change Bruce’s diaper now. Sean’s turn.

              • #10 by Radiation Man on January 25, 2017

                “Why are you so afraid of Joe” says the man who spends hours every day talking about Bruce. You aren’t fooling anyone. And the Earth is round. Not flat. That’s why you get called a nutter, if you were wondering.

                • #11 by Fullerton Lover on January 25, 2017

                  I personally wouldn’t waste a minute of my precious time on earth talking about a guy like Bruce who took his friend and appointee off of a city committee, and then never gave him an explanation as to why he did that, and certainly would be hesitant to trust someone who treats hi supposed friend that way.

                  What is it that they say, Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

                  But then again they don’t refer to Fullerton, as “Fool’s town”, for no good reason.

                  Look at the clowns that keep getting re-elected ; = )

                • #12 by Anonymous on January 25, 2017

                  Are you making fun of the school children’s demise Ms. Gapinski? Sean Paden does. Matt Leslie does. Jane Rands does. Joshua Ferguson does.You are all no better than a bully yourselves or worse. Juvenile behavior from all of you. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Perhaps Travis will join in? Chris Thompson should be arrested for his involvement. Chris Thompson is the real radiation man.

                  Now onto a more serious issue. I would think lies and fabrication in police complaints, falsely accusing others can come back on people. The city needs to release the video of the alleged ATT event involving Barry and because they haven’t makes me think that it proves the allegations are false. What an orchestration and conglomeration of lies, corruption, deceit involving all of you who defend these monsters. Leave Joe alone.

                  . .

                • #13 by BIG BABY on January 25, 2017

                  Waaaaàaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!

                  WHY WON’T ANYONE LISTEN TO ME?! I WANT TO BE RELEVANT! RELEVAAAAANT.

                  Get a job, hippie.

      • #14 by Weighed in the balance on January 25, 2017

        270, tops.

  2. #15 by I Was There on January 25, 2017

    “…because of all the college kids who like to take a commuter train to Fullerton.”

    Lol. Has there ever been even 1?

    • #16 by just a guy on January 25, 2017

      No, by the time a student paid for a Metrolink ticket (not cheap) and a bike rental fee, they could just buy a cheap vehicle and drive straight to class.

      • #17 by Fullerton Historian on January 25, 2017

        Of course that never occurred to the competent people at OCTA, an organization that morphed into an “authority” from being the County bus system.

  3. #18 by Fullerton Old Timer on January 25, 2017

    Reminds me of the $800 hammer back in Reagan’s day. At least a hammer is good for something.

    • #19 by nipsey on January 25, 2017

      Yeah I see for or five things that hammer would be good for in this thread alone.

  4. #20 by James Cameron on January 25, 2017

    This is THE Pringle formula. Use political influence peddling to get your client a public contract. Your client pays you out what used to be public funds, and the public gets to take its chances with whatever crap your client puts out there.

    Good to know Fitzgerald’s business model.

    • #21 by What you waiting for on January 25, 2017

      Recall Fitzgerald ! ! !

      • #22 by streets of fullerton on January 25, 2017

        Can you make some posters? I’ll put them up!

  5. #23 by Not to Exceed on January 25, 2017

    Gee, I wonder why those bikes broke down.

  6. #24 by Fullerton Historian on January 25, 2017

    Hmm. OCTA. Pringle. ARTIC. Fitzgerald.

    One disaster after another.

  7. #25 by Jim Kent on January 25, 2017

    Looks like Theresa Harvey is there to put the Chamber of Commerce Seal of Approval on this ridiculous waste.

    • #26 by Anonymous on January 25, 2017

      Of course. CL7 Communications (a subsidiary of Curt Pringle and Associates) is a dues-paying member of the Chamber of Commerce.

  8. #27 by Lisa CSUF on January 25, 2017

    Joe S,
    Thanks for the article. The bike share has worked very well in several cities in the US and around the world. However, anyone with a not necessarily too deep understanding on Fullerton and the Fullertonions would have known that its implementation was doomed to fail. All the money down the drain through Fitzgerald’s open door to lobbysts’ clients!!

  9. #28 by Martin B on January 25, 2017

    Riding a bike out of the Fullerton Transit Center is a great way to die.

  10. #29 by Bax Baxter on January 28, 2017

    The guy who looks very much like Elvis did in July 1977, appears to be thinking about eating the bike.

    • #30 by Glen Livid on January 28, 2017

      Maybe we should chip in and buy the guy a white, bell-bottomed jump suit.

  11. #31 by Lisa CSUF on January 29, 2017

    It’s all good Fitzgerald’s lobby client made its profit, Flory & Jlo’s pictures were taken and the City’s computerized accounting entry took care of the rest on this zero use value venture .

  12. #32 by Anonymous on July 21, 2019

    http://newsantaana.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Supervisor-Do-at-the-new-Jerome-Park-Bike-Trail.jpg The best thing Supervisor Do can do to promote bicycle riding is to stop uglifying the trails with walls and tall black fences along the trails and riverbeds.

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