- Pace debuted its dockless bike-share network in Austin, TX, with 60 smart bikes available at bike racks in the city's downtown, and plans to expand its network to 500 bikes this summer.
- The launch comes just weeks after Austin City Council passed an emergency rule, effective August 1, requiring all dockless bikes and scooters to have "lock to" devices or haptic technology installed so they can be parked on bike racks or attached to fixed objects. Pace is one of the only dockless networks in the U.S. that has an attached cable on its bikes.
- Pace has now launched in seven markets since December, and parent company Zagster says more will be announced by the end of the year.
Austin’s emergency rules — preceded by an ordinance that made it illegal for dockless scooter or bike companies to leave vehicles on a city right of way without a license — effectively froze its dockless market. Brian Kyuhoon, head of public policy for the dockless bike sharing company Spin, told the Austin American-Statesman that the rules "contain several provisions of serious concern to Spin, ranging from the impractical to the potentially impossible."
Pace, however, is touting it was ahead of the game with its "lock-to” system; the network has its own racks for riders to park at, but also can be locked to public racks, street signs or other fixed infrastructure. It is meant to solve the problem of clutter — where other dockless bikes are abandoned on streets or sidewalks — but also gives Pace a leg up in markets such as Austin.
Chicago has similarly passed a "lock-to" rule, and other cities are keeping dockless systems at an arm's length until the clutter problem has been solved. St. Paul, MN and Coronado, CA have rejected them altogether, and other cities are keeping them on a tight pilot period for now.
If more cities follow Austin’s lead, that could put Pace in an enviable position. Zagster CEO Tim Ericson said the company hopes the trend continues so Pace can demonstrate its "superior ridership compared to free-floating services" that don't have lock-to functions.
Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified the number of bikes Pace launched in Austin.