(Photo courtesy LimeBike)
Capital Bikeshare announced earlier this fall that two bike sharing companies, Mobike and Spin, would be launching dockless bikeshare in D.C. as part of a pilot. As the program gets rolling, a third company entered this week.
San Mateo, Calif.–based LimeBike officially launched its dockless bikeshare program on September 20, providing 400 bikes around the city. Like the Capital Bikeshare program, the company’s bicycles can be tracked through an app which monitors their locations. But they don’t have to be returned to the station. Instead, the bikes are equipped with a lock on the back wheel that’s designed to fit a rack or pole. The rate to rent a bike is $1 per half hour and $0.50 per half hour for students.
LimeBike imagines its bikes as a complement or alternative to the existing transportation system.
“Not having docks allows LimeBike to be more dynamic, meaning we can place bikes in areas that are underserved or where transportation is limited,” said Mary Caroline Pruitt, a spokesperson for LimeBike.
The GPS features that allow users to find the bikes will also help to prevent theft, as will the fact that all LimeBike parts are specifically designed to work only with their bikes, Pruitt said. In addition, the company plans to have a team of workers based here, including a D.C. General Manager, Operations Manager, and a team of Operations Specialists.
“Our local operations team there will be responsible for monitoring the streets to ensure that all bikes are parked responsibly,” Pruitt said. “They will also closely monitor ride data to ensure that LimeBikes are accessible in areas that are underserved or where there is high demand.”
To address the growing trend toward dockless bikes DC Sustainable Transportation has released a report detailing the pros and cons of dockless bikesharing. Their recommendations can be found on Greater Greater Washington.