Dockless Bike-sharing Options Arrive in San Diego

San Diego city officials are taking steps to increase participation in the city’s bike-sharing program. They say that they would like to see seven percent of the city’s residents riding bikes as their primary means of transportation by 2020. They feel that the introduction of dockless bikes to the city will help them meet this goal as people will not have to get to a bike station only to find that no bikes are available.

City officials entered into an agreement with Deco Bikes in 2015 to provide service to the city. This company has since become Discover Bikes. Under this program, participants can choose to rent a bike by the hour or pay a membership fee to use the docked bikes an unlimited number of times during a month. Bikes are removed from more than 169 docking stations and can be returned to any other docking station. Yet, many people say that they see bikes littering streets and sidewalks throughout the city.

San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott told city council members that they could allow other companies to do business in the city. In her memo issued on Wednesday, January 24, 2018, she said that while the city’s contract with Deco Bikes was still in effect for another five years, it did not stop other bike-sharing programs from entering the market. Deco Bikes, however, will still enjoy some help from the city along with being allowed to carry out some marketing efforts that other companies will not be allowed to do.

LimeBike became the first company to expand to San Diego when it opened operations there on February 23, 2018. In addition to the dockless bike, the company also brought the first pedal-assist bikes and the first scooters to the city. In fact, the rollout made San Diego the first city to have all three options. While all the bikes are not in place yet, the company says that they will have over 1,000 units located mainly near transit stations.

It did not take ofo-Smart Bike Sharing long to start doing business in San Diego as their first bikes arrived on the afternoon of February 23, 2018. This rollout was done with the city’s permission. In the past, the company has been banned from the University of California at San Diego campus because they brought bikes to the campus without the administration’s permission.

The smaller Mobike introduced their first bikes to San Diego on Friday, February 23, 2018. This is the fourth city where users can ride Mobikes, and it is the largest. Finally, Bird is operating electric scooters in the city.

City official Anthony Santacroce says that the introduction of scooters to San Diego will present some particular challenges because there are few laws governing their usage. They will be placed near retail locations and are designed for short trips.

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