Bike share programs, popular in many cities across America, are struggling to overcome roadblocks. Many companies providing the bikes have begun pulling their product from cities as a result.
Bike Share Providers Grinding Gears To Stay Profitable
Many cities, such as NYC, have been seeing bike share providers pulling their products off sidewalks and streets. These companies are suspending pilot programs in certain neighborhoods, as well as pulling existing bicycle options.
These companies seem to have a variety of reasons for the reduction in available services, but many cite reduced ridership and seasonal issues. Additionally, companies who offer dockless bike share, services that allow riders to leave their bikes wherever is convenient, have seemed to struggle with stolen and vandalized bikes as well.
Companies Roll Out New Vehicle Options
In spring 2017, 66.21 million people in the United States said that they had ridden a bicycle within the last twelve months. However, in recent months, the popularity of bicycles for transportation has dipped, paving the way for e-scooters.
Many companies providing bikes for bike sharing programs have attempted to also begin providing e-scooters, though several have run into trouble with local ordinances limiting where e-scooters can be ridden. For example, Seattle has banned e-scooter share programs until a permit program can be created for scooters, citing danger to pedestrians and riders alike.
In other cities, scooters have overtaken bikes in popularity in a significant way. St. Louis has seen a decrease in bikes involved in their local bike share program, whereas scooter numbers continue to rise. City officials claim that this isn’t particularly a problem for them, describing the situation as a simple shift in the market away from bikes and towards scooters.
As e-scooters seem to be rising in popularity nationally, the future of bike share programs remains uncertain. Particularly with the colder months of the year fast approaching, bike share companies will need to decide their next moves; will they shift operations to focusing on the more popular e-scooter, or will they double down on bicycles? The answer could decide the future of this unique style of ride-share.