Dockless Bikeshare Controversies

December 6, 2017

Chances are that you have used one or seen one around town. Orange, green and yellow bikes parked virtually anywhere, which can sometimes mean odd places like the middle of the sidewalk.

Since dockless bikeshare companies began operating in DC in September, the bicycles have served as a convenient mode of transportation as well as the object of frustration, even inspiring a Popville series on appalling parking practices.

Yesterday evening, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and a handful of ANCs in Ward 2 co-hosted a town hall about the dockless bikeshare pilot program to get feedback from the community.

DDOT is testing out dockless bikeshare as a supplement to the regional Capital Bikeshare program, which has been in operation in DC for seven years. Because the city’s regulations have no guidance on how dockless bicycle companies should work, the marketplace was essentially opened up for seven months in order for the companies to test things out.

The companies (Mobike, ofo, Jump, LimeBike and Spin) are permitted to operate their systems in DC and are not being charged; all but Jump have close to the maximum 400 bikes currently available throughout the city. DDOT is collecting monthly data reports from each company and wants to see what impact, if any, the competition has on Capital Bikeshare usage and revenue.

DDOT representative Sam Zimbabwe explained that by the pilot’s conclusion in April, the agency hopes to have amassed a significant amount of feedback from the community and to finalize recommended approaches to the issues of whether a regulatory framework need be established, including maximum number of bikes and costs to bikeshare operators and how to better regulate proper parking of the bikes.

And the attendees of the meeting ensured that DDOT, the ANCs and the bikeshare companies had plenty of feedback to start with.

(Urban Turf)

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