- Philadelphia's bike-share program, Indego, announced it will expand its pedal assist, electric bike pilot.
- Later this month Indego will begin adding 400 e-bikes to the 10 that were part of the four-month pilot that started in November. It will also add 12 more bike docking stations in the system's busiest areas.
- The e-bikes will cost more to use and the fees will go toward the extra operational costs of maintaining an e-bike fleet compared with traditional fleets.
Philadelphia's e-bike pilot unveiled what mobility companies in other locations are realizing: Shared e-bikes are overtaking traditional pedal bikes in popularity.
“We saw that the Indego electric bikes were ridden up to 10 times as often as the standard bikes, and they traveled to every station across the city," the city's deputy managing director for transportation Michael Carroll said in a statement.
Other cities' traditional bike-share programs are moving toward e-bikes. New York City recently announced that 4,000 e-bikes would be added to its bike-share fleet; Chicago and Minneapolis announced significant bike-share program expansions that would add only e-bikes — not pedal bikes — to their fleets.
E-bike fleet expansions are moving forward despite recent safety concerns. In April, Lyft pulled several thousand e-bikes from use in New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC due to problems with the brakes. Another electric mobility device — scooters — also raised safety concerns in recent months. Lime recalled some scooters because of a manufacturing defect that caused batteries to catch fire. Like e-bikes, e-scooter popularity has been booming across the United States despite the safety recalls.
E-bike use also expands despite some users' dislike of the additional rental fees. Philadelphia residents were among those included in a survey about bike-share equity that concluded people of color and low-income citizens had more concerns than white and high-income residents about bike-sharing, including that it would make their neighborhoods more expensive.
Indego says it will continue Philadelphia's commitment to affordability and equity by offering discounted e-bike rides — 5 cents per minute instead of the standard 15 cents — for users who receive state government assistance and also sign up for the Indego assistance program.