Dockless bikes, rentable bikes that can be picked up and left anywhere, may sound innovative and like something that may be a part of future urban and transit design, but for the time being, the bikes seem to be taking over the sidewalks more than they are taking over the streets and bike lanes, according to The New York Post, Some have even been quick to break down or go missing in action.
Uber, the popular ride-sharing company that’s already known for being partially responsible for the influx of tens of thousands of extra vehicles in the city because of ride shares, operates one of the dockless bike companies, JUMP. The company put 100 dockless bikes around Fordham University in the Bronx, which makes sense near a university and in the central Bronx where east-west travel can be difficult, and even north-south travel by subway could require making transfers that are out of the way. It didn’t take long for almost 10 of the bikes to become completely unaccounted for though as they went missing. Some bikes already don’t work or fell into a state of disrepair.
“They should come out and fix them — they’re here for nothing now,” Fordham student Natalia Amaro said. She would be one of many paying customers that could help companies like JUMP succeed, that is if the bikes can actually become reliable.
JUMP and four more companies are providing the dockless bike services to areas where Citi Bikes currently do not do business. One of the companies, Lime, seems to be off to a better start. On any nice weekend, anyone traveling up the lovely rail trails that run from Van Cortlandt Park through Westchester and part of Putnam County will find a number of these Lime bikes sitting on the paved trail.
Another company, Pace, provides service way out in southern Queens at the beach down in the Rockaways, though there are aspects of the program that irk some residents.
“They drop them off outside any house or in the middle of the streets and leave them there until someone takes them again,” Rockaway resident Mike McCann, said, adding that the bikes “could be there for three nights.”
Dockless-bike users can facilitate everything through the app, and bikes not in use can lock, which is why they can simply be left wherever the rider pleases, waiting for the next rider to pick it up or for the company to eventually come get the bike.
City officials are deciding how to best move forward.
“We are currently in the evaluation period of the pilot program, and based on company performances, will make a determination on future steps — including the possibility of not moving forward or an expanded pilot,” said Department of Transportation spokesman Alana Morales.
Uber officials said to expect an additional 100 bikes in the Bronx and for fixes to come.
By: Colby Seda