NYC extends dockless bike pilot

Lime is one of three companies, along with JUMP and Motivate, taking part in a pilot program offering dockless short-term bike rentals in New York City.
Lime is one of three companies, along with JUMP and Motivate, taking part in a pilot program offering dockless short-term bike rentals in New York City.
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
Lime is one of three companies, along with JUMP and Motivate, taking part in a pilot program offering dockless short-term bike rentals in New York City.

NYC extends dockless bike pilot

The debate over legalizing e-bikes and e-scooters intensifies
March 11, 2019

As the debate over legalizing e-bikes and e-scooters intensifies between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council, the Department of Transportation is leaning into one new initiative. Its pilot of dockless bikes – including pedal-assist e-bikes – was extended for another three months after rolling out last July. The program – which includes operators Lime, JUMP and Motivate – is, in part, an attempt to serve parts of the city not already reached by Citi Bike at a lower cost of capital by using bikes without docking stations.

Since beginning the pilot, Lime has increased its fleet in Staten Island and Far Rockaway, and, thanks to demand for the company’s pedal-assist bikes – a less powerful e-bike that is legal in New York City – the company is now using more pedal-assist bikes in the pilot than traditional ones. “We saw there was a much higher ridership with the e-bikes and that people were willing to take them farther distances, because it really is giving them increased mobility, making the time that it takes to travel anywhere much shorter,” said Phil Jones, Lime’s East Coast senior director of government relations. “Also, looking at Staten Island, which has hills, the e-bike was a godsend for the people there from that perspective.”

While throttle e-bikes and e-scooters are not part of the pilot, the DOT’s continued interest in new transportation solutions like dockless bikes could bode well for the future of legislation on the issue in the City Council. “We see this as the first step in making sure that this conversation is had and that we really are discussing as many options as possible for people here in New York,” Jones said.

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Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
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