Next Gen Bike Share Programs Let You Leave Bikes Where you Want

August 23, 2017

5:00 pm

In cities such as San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, the bike share phenomenon has truly exploded over the last few years. For the majority, bikeshare startups and companies offer a docked system, the next generation will provide more options for their users.

Short History of Bikeshare

According to CityLab, the journey to bike share as we know it today began in 1965 in Amsterdam. However, the bicycles were left unlocked and free to use, which led to theft and damage and eventually shut the program down.

The first city-scale bikeshare to use “smart bike” technology was in Rennes, France, three decades later in 1998. France continued its ascent to the top of bikesharing systems when the city of Lyon partnered with JCDecaux to bring 1,500 bikes to the city in 2005. Two years later, Paris launched 6,000 bikes as part of its Velib system.

Here is a guide to the bike-sharing community around the world:

Leave it Where You Want

In the past few years, bike share programs have gained popularity, both in terms of number of cities and expansion of the fleets themselves. While most traditional, city-funded bike share systems are dock-based — meaning you pick up a bike from a predetermined location, ride it, and then drop it back off at another predetermined location — the next generation of bikeshare companies will be dockless. 

LimeBike and Spin use a dockless bikesharing system where customers are able to pick up and drop off bikes anywhere in the area. They’re goal is to help evenly distribute the bikes and expand their service area. In Seattle, startups have realized success with this model. 

This model doesn’t come without challenges, there have been concerns about the upkeep of the equipment and pile-ups of bikes on the streets and sidewalks since they don’t need to be returned to a specific location. In China, there are more than 30 private companies that are facing a challenge with millions of bikes cluttering the streets and getting in the way of pedestrians.

While bike sharing is a great way to improve the infrastructure of a city, reduce our carbon footprint and provide exercise, in the near future more cities will begin to regulate how these type of companies do business.

Read more about bike share startups and programs at TechCo

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Rachel is the communications Manager at TransitScreen, a DC-based startup working to bring real-time information about transportation to cities.

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