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Culture / Newsy

Dallas Makes a Huge Jump Toward Becoming a Biking City

No Docking Locks Required for New Bike Share Program — Who Needs a Car?

BY // 08.03.17

Dallas has always been a driving city, but is that about to change? The nation’s leading dockless bike-sharing service LimeBike revealed today that it’s riding into town this month. The California-based company will distribute rentable bikes throughout Dallas in an effort to provide convenient, low-cost, environmentally-friendly transportation.

Without designated docks, the bikes are equipped with tracking technology and can be picked up and dropped off in any legal parking space. Riders use the LimeBike smartphone app to locate, rent, and unlock the closest bike. The service costs $1 per half hour, and students get a 50 percent discount.

“The model is to increase availability so people can use bikes as a source of transportation, the same way you can open Uber or Lyft,” says Andrew Savage, LimeBike’s vice president of strategic development.

The dockless model means that riders can use LimeBike across the city – without having to worry about dropping bikes off in a specific location.

“They can go anywhere throughout the community that riders want to ride,” Savage says. “We have visibility of where all the bikes in our fleet are, so we actively manage the fleet in the community, moving bikes to areas where there’s higher demand.”

The idea of bike-sharing isn’t entirely new to Dallas.

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In 2014, the city began a bike-sharing program with a designated dock in Fair Park, but it was largely a failure. Docks are expensive to keep up and the stations are often inconvenient for riders.

Earlier this summer, Garland-based V Bikes improved upon the idea by implementing a dockless bike-sharing system in Dallas.

San Francisco-based Spin has also placed some rentable bikes about town in recent months.

LimeBike is the third dockless bike-sharing program to join the party, but it’s also the most established. The company already has programs in five cities across the country, including Seattle and South Lake Tahoe.

“The reason we’ve been successful in that many locations is because we very proactively work with the community months in advance,” Savage says.

Who wants to sit in traffic?

LimeBike will start with 50 to 100 bikes in Dallas, but plans to work with the city to develop a more robust program.

Bike-sharing could help relieve Dallas’ congested roads and round out the half-baked public transportation system.

“Big picture, our goal is to help solve first and last mile transportation problems in cities,” Savage tells PaperCity.

And, in a city as spread out as Dallas, the dockless aspect is key.

“A docking model doesn’t serve as much of the community as we would like to,” notes Sam Dreiman, Limebike’s Dallas community outreach representative. “This dockless model allows more areas with low income and moderate income to have mobility options.”

Which brings up one issue with this bike-sharing program: as affordable as it is, riders must have a smartphone to use it. However, Savage says the company is currently working on options to expand the service beyond these limitations.

Only time will tell if LimeBike can top previous bike-sharing efforts, but it seems like a thoughtful solution to Dallas’ transportation woes.

We view Dallas as a community that has invested in public transportation and we think bikes could be a very good complement to integrating those mobility options as well,” Savage says.

LimeBike will begin the program with dockless bikes at partner businesses this month, and plans to work with the city and key stakeholders to expand services throughout the community.

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