- Bike-share service Zagster has secured $15 million in funding to expand its Pace dockless bike fleet to new cities, according to a company press release.
- The company touts Pace as the first smart bike with integrated cable locks implemented on the bike frame, enabling it to lock to any fixed object.
- The funding will also go toward upgrading Zagster's products including bikes, racks and the Pace app.
Zagster is an 11-year-old Massachusetts-based company that operates about 200 bike-share programs across the country. It launched its Pace dockless brand about two months ago, and has rolled out Pace fleets in Knoxville, TN and Tallahassee, FL. By the end of next year, the company anticipates that Pace will be in "hundreds" of cities.
Dockless bike dumping or littering is a big problem that prevents some cities from launching a dockless bike-share system. Last month, the Dallas city manager was so fed up with inappropriately docked bikes strewn across the city that he sent a warning letter to the five dockless providers that were operating in the city. Because dockless only launched in the United States last summer and many of the first adopters are wrapping up their pilot programs in the coming months, many municipal leaders are waiting to see if other cities choose to extend the dockless bike-shares' licensing, or bring the experiment to a close.
Pace is a bit different in that it is a hybrid of traditional and dockless systems. It does have its own bike racks that users can lock the bikes to, but consumers who do not use those racks can lock the bikes at other public racks, or to any fixed object. Pace bikes come with a built-in cable lock so users can lock the bike in appropriate areas, whereas other bike-share systems simply have a self-locking rear wheel when the bike is not in use.
It's still too early to tell if Pace's convenient locking model will be enough to prevent bike dumping, but it has great potential to solve one of the most nagging problems cities face with dockless systems.