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High Bay Area Gas Prices Spur Increasing Interest For Bikes, Scooters

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – The price of gas is going nowhere but up, and some people are just fed up.

"This is greed, corporate greed," said Emeryville resident Richard Wingart. "I think it's absolutely ridiculous."

Wingart now plans to spend less time at the pump and more time pumping his legs. "I bought a bike around 2 days ago, 3 days ago at Walmart. Because I can't keep spending $75 every week," he told KPIX 5.

Wingart isn't alone in his desire to find alternative ways to get around, in an effort to spend less money on gas.

"Any time the cost of one form of transport goes up, it makes sense that some people would try and shift to another one," said Aaron Isenstadt, a worker-owner of the Missing Link Bicycle Co-Op in Berkeley.

Isenstadt said it's not like there's a run on bicycles at the shop because of gas prices, but the topic has come up with a few customers.

"Maybe I've had one, possibly two people, who've come in and explicitly mentioned the price of gas as the reason why they're either getting a new bike or fixing their bike," Isenstadt said.

In San Francisco, the demand for electric bikes and electric scooters has definitively gone up, according to a spokesperson for the scooter company Bird. The average daily ridership has increased by more than 50% from February to March.

A company spokesperson provided KPIX 5 with the following statement:

"With the cost of gas on the rise — and California topping prices nationwide — nearly 25% fewer adults are willing to pay full price for it, while others are not driving or are driving less which can lead to missed work, medical appointments or education opportunities. Bird's e-bike and e-scooter sharing service can serve as a welcome and eco-friendly alternative for essential trips while also providing critical access to public transportation throughout the city. We are working around the clock to meet demand and to ensure our service continues to be ready when and where it is needed during this time while also offering discounted rides through our Community Pricing and Ride Pass programs."

At Last Mile SF, Jay Brockman said some of their customers who've come in and inquired about their e-bikes, e-scooters, and e-skateboards, have expressed frustration over gas prices.

"We do have more people coming in and complaining about gas prices and talking about electric. Where those numbers are? I don't know. But we definitely do see people who are affected by the gas prices coming in here," Brockman said. "I know people who have come in and said, 'I'm tired of having a car. It's not feasible, especially here in SF, in the city.'"

Like at the bicycle shop in Berkeley, Brockman said people aren't storming the shop. But people do seem to be fed up with the increasing costs of having a car and want to try something new.

"If you think about how many times you would use Lyft, or how many times you fill up your gas tank – the price of one of these will easily beat your car's mileage," he said. "I think any sort of alternative method other than some sort of fossil fuel is going to be in the long run, better for them and better for the environment."

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