Image via Citi Bike
Just a couple weeks ago, San Francisco-based bike-share Spin announced plans to bring 300 dockless bikes to NYC. However, the day before the operator was set to drop off its convoy, the Department of Transportation slapped the company with a cease and desist letter. Although Spin’s dockless entrance into NYC’s market has been thwarted, Citi Bike appears to be stepping up in its place. The Post reports that Citi Bike is now exploring how they can incorporate dockless vehicles into their system. As it stands, the blue bike network includes about 10,000 bicycles across Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, all of which must be returned to designated stations following use.
Image by Nick Harris/flickr CC
Citi Bike has for years benefited from being the only bike-share contractor in NYC. But word has it at least five other operators have been courting officials since April—and with success. Earlier this month, City Councilman Eric Ulrich came out in support of bringing new blood into the fold. “Citi Bike has a contract to have docks on city property and that’s fine,” he said, “but the city has to let bike riders and New Yorkers decide who they want to pay.”
Citi Bike’s move to dockless vehicles would indeed dash much of the imminent competition. It would also remedy issues related to balancing their stations, which often quickly fill up or empty out during rush hour. Had Spin made its way to NYC, riders would have been able to locate, unlock, and pay for bikes through a phone app; they could also park their bikes wherever they please. Whether Citi Bike will use a similar system is unclear. The Post also notes the operator is not sure how long it would take to integrate the dockless bikes into their system, and that funding and expansion could be an issue.
[Via NY Post]
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