Feel like you're caught in a frenzy of dockless bike- and scooter-share news? Us too. In Dockless Digest, Smart Cities Dive will round up the most important (and sometimes bizarre) news and trends affecting the dockless phenomenon to keep you up-to-date.
Is something happening in your city that didn't make the list this week? Shoot us an email at [email protected].
Bird, Lime hit 10 million rides
Both Bird and Lime celebrated 10 million-plus rides, with both companies hailing their massive growth around a year after they launched.
Bird said its 2.1 million users have taken upwards of 100 million rides at an average of 1.43 miles per trip. The company said it has helped to avoid 12.7 million pounds of carbon emissions, and riders have traveled 14.3 million miles, the equivalent of 574 trips around the world.
In a letter to Bird users, founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden thanked everyone involved in growing what he called the "amazing community." "Now that the concept of shared e-scooters has proven to be popular, we are ready for the next phase," VanderZanden wrote.
The same day as Bird released a statement celebrating its 10 millionth rider, Lime said that since launching 14 months ago, it has already had 11.5 million rides on its bikes and scooters. The company said riders have burned over 1.5 billion calories, and that it plans to expand into 50 more cities by the end of the year.
Pentagon to impound dockless vehicles
The Pentagon, the home of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) just outside Washington, DC, will impound dockless bikes and scooters if they are left on its sprawling property, according to Defense One.
The outlet reports Pentagon police seized seven dockless vehicles last week that were left unattended, although a spokesman gave Bird credit for coming and collecting them the same day.
The news comes just days before Arlington County, VA, where the Pentagon is located, votes on a pilot program that would require companies to pay $8,000 for an operating permit and limits them to an initial fleet of 200 vehicles, which can be expanded to 350 in 50-vehicle monthly increments.
Lime roiled by San Francisco permit denial
Lime has accused the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) of "unlawful bias" for denying it a permit to operate in the city’s dockless pilot program.
San Francisco awarded permits to Skip and Scoot for the one-year pilot, and Lime has sent an appeal to SFMTA, according to TechCrunch. That appeal will go to an independent hearing officer for consideration, an SFMTA spokesperson said.
"The SFMTA’s handling of the dockless bike and scooter share programs has lacked transparency from the beginning," Lime CEO Toby Sun said in a statement last month when the successful applicants were revealed.
SFMTA could also be on the cusp of approving an expansion to its dockless bike program, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
Data from agency staff found its Jump dockless bikes are used far more than the traditional docked bikes, seven months into the pilot program.
Concerns raised about sidewalk riding in Salt Lake City
A survey of residents in Salt Lake City has shown that the biggest complaint about dockless bikes and scooters is when they are ridden on the sidewalk, according to Fox 13.
Three companies are licensed to operate in the city, although only two are operating and are limited to 500 scooters each. The survey comes with Salt Lake City planning an on-street education program for riders next month.
Columbia, MO disabilities commission hears complaints about scooters
The city of Columbia, MO’s disabilities commission has heard complaints from residents about Bird’s dockless scooters blocking sidewalks and ramps, according to the Columbia Tribune.
The Tribune reported a local representative was on-hand to answer questions, although the commission did not have a quorum so could not make any recommendations.
Santa Cruz, CA-based company Inboard Technology announced a new Glider Electric Scooter this week, allowing people to own their own electric scooter, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal.
The company already makes electric skateboards and said buying a scooter for $1,300 is cheaper than paying for a dockless alternative.
“Owning a scooter means you don’t have to worry about finding a rental,” Inboard co-founder and CEO Ryan Evans in a statement.
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