A Better Way To Do Bike Share

I’m a big Citibike user in NYC. I take it to and from work sometimes. I take it to and from the ferries a lot. And I use it to get twenty or thirty blocks in 5-10 mins when I don’t have the time to walk it.

But one thing I don’t like about Citibike is the anxiety around having an empty docking spot at your preferred destination kiosk. If there are no empty docks, you have to go to the nearest one in search of an empty dock. I’ve sometimes had to try three or four kiosks which is very frustrating.

Here in Shanghai, they do things a bit differently, and I think a bit better.

The bike share bikes are everywhere that we’ve been in Shangahi but they don’t dock in kiosks. They just lock up when you end your ride and the next person unlocks them with an app on their phone.

Here are what the bikes look like when they are waiting for someone to take them out.

Sometimes they are lined up almost like a Citibike kiosk.

And sometimes they are just dropped off a bit more randomly.

And here is the QR code you read into an app on your phone to get the code to unlock the bike.

I sure hope that the NYC Citibike system moves to this approach as soon as practical. It would make the system a lot better.

#Blogging On The Road

Comments (Archived):

  1. Dean Dorrell

    I agree that the liberty of docking where you want is very attractive. But, here in Sydney, there’s been a rash of startups flooding the market and the bikes have ended up in massive piles – https://www.fairfaxstatic.c…It’ll work out in time but local councils aren’t happy…..

    1. kenberger


      1. Kelvin Quee

        This is exactly what has been happening in Singapore too! Sometimes cultures and government evolve slower than technology. 😉

        1. JamesHRH

          Sometimes technology ignores the last 5 millennia of evidence regarding human nature.

          1. Vasudev Ram

            s/technology/technologistsObserved a parallel in science, whether intentional or not:When some scientific concept is discovered, it is named after the discoverer, e.g. [1], or people say “man” (generic term) discovered it, but when a concept is still unknown or unexplained, they tend to go “science has (still) not discovered (or solved) this” … :)[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wihttps://en.wikipedia.org/wi

        2. David Semeria

          Same story in Milan. It appears ignorance is a global problem…

          1. awaldstein

            holy shit!

          2. Vasudev Ram

            The name of that problem is (sub)human nature.

        3. Vasudev Ram

          You mean bikes being vandalized? I thought the govt. was strict there.

    2. Tom Spence

      I call this piece, “Stationary Motion in Amber”

    3. Tom Spence

      As Dean has said, the dock-less bike sharing scheme has been a bit controversial in Sydney and Melbourne. The new mayor of the Inner West in Sydney has even promised to get rid of oBikes – hopefully to replace them with a docking solution. Here’s some coverage of the issue: http://thenewdaily.com.au/n… and http://forums.whirlpool.net

    4. Jarrod Coco

      Here in Melbourne we have seen dozens of these (“obikes” I think is the brand) being fished out of the Yarra River over the last three weeks. It’s quite common to find them scattered around the streets, sometimes severely vandalised. It’s a shame, such a great concept, just hard to rat-bag-proof it.

      1. PhilipSugar

        I have seen. The vandalisation is senseless. I can see people being upset at having them strewn everywhere. I am in no way justifying, but if you can just leave it anywhere…..why not leave it anywhere (except because you have a sense of decency) and that might result in major inconvenience for somebody that didn’t ride.It’s sad because so many times you have to manage to the lowest common denominator when you are dealing with the public.Not in all places. Where I live they still leave out a cash box next to the produce or egg stands., it’s not even tied down.But I can see three sets of problems at the lowest common denominator:1. The me-me who only cares about me. I sound like a cranky old man but you see this person more often these days because of phones and upbringing. They don’t care where or how they leave.2. The angry person who is fed up with dealing with these bikes blocking up the street or entrance-way.3. The true a-hole that likes to break stuff because they have a screw loose.

    5. DJL

      Exactly what I was thinking – but afraid to say. If you tried this in Detroit, there would not be one bike left after 30 days.

        1. DJL

          Nice! I had not heard – but haven’t lived there in 30 years. Downtown is actually making a nice comeback.

  2. kenberger

    I think a lot has to do with the density of a city, its penchant for crime or simply confusion (what is this odd-looking bike doing here??), and regulatory attitudes of each.NYC MUST do things with racks, to keep things orderly in tight places and for other security initiatives.In Berlin, there are racks for just 1 bikeshare co (Nextbike), but it’s also fine to just leave the bike on most any sidewalk. That works because Berlin has tons of sidewalk space and is a forward city with lots of tech startup-type offerings.In Dresden however, the same company (Nextbike) does things differently: the bikes have cable locks that must be used.Also, I’m super intrigued to see that Limebike has a huge round now from big name VC’s: https://techcrunch.com/2017

  3. William Mougayar

    And you had to go to China to find that out!!

    1. Mac

      LOL! Thanks.

    2. JamesHRH

      William, did you see this article on Trudeau?Its staggering, based on the sharp writing, and, more importantly, the author (for folks who do not know Ms. Kennedy, her bio ends with: “Her regular critics describe her as a feminist and unregenerate leftie. She agrees completely.” :http://ottawacitizen.com/op…This phrase is an old theme w fresh vinegar – ‘ he actually believes his fawning and unenlightened world press coverage ‘.

      1. William Mougayar

        I hadn’t. thanks.

        1. JamesHRH

          I think it’s indicative of a potential backlash coming in 2019.In Calgary, progressive Mayor Nenshi won his last campaign w 72% of vote. On Monday, a blah, unaccomplished, ‘ I am not Nenshi ‘ candidate got 43% of the vote and might have won if the Flames hadn’t ham handedly tried to make the new arena an election issue.Something to think of re: BlockChain regulation. If Trudeau gets in trouble for being ineffective, any leader can.

  4. Jun Gong

    You are in Shanghai! Have you ridden mobike or ofo yet?

    1. fredwilson

      i have not.

    2. kenberger

      limebike, which just got big funding i just mentioned in another comment, are all about competing with those 2.

  5. Cynthia Bell McGillis

    They have just started this initiative in DC. The city was flooded with dockless bike brands (including Mobike & Ofo). Like you, I have anxiety about docking my bike (we have Capital Bikeshare which is a dock system). I love the freedom of picking up and dropping off my bike anywhere.However, I don’t see this lasting long. People are breaking the locks, parking the bikes in trees (really) and generally abusing the bikes. More here if you are interested: https://www.popville.com/ca

  6. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:Something about organized, orderly and functionality.What works in Asia appears to be what doesn’t in the West. It gets down to culture. We just don’t desire to see anything unorganized or confusion.We never could be sold on borrowing a bike when you could own it for less in a short life cycle. (Pun intended)

    1. Tommy Chen

      How do you explain all the bike share programs across the US then?

      1. creative group

        Tommy Chen:Was the question rhetorical?When Venture Capital money is spent in a sector the oversaturation isn’t realized until the winners and losers are determined.If people spend an average of $100 per year (example) for renting bicycles in the city they live it hasn’t dawn on them the locale bicycle shop or Walmart (Poor example for serious bicycle riders) the bike could be owned. Now if you don’t understand the difference between ownership verses renting this entire explanation was useless.

        1. Tommy Chen

          I understand the difference between ownership verses renting but you’re not taking into account other factors like convenience, risk, etc. I could easily order a bike from Walmart for the cost of my annual Citibike membership but I don’t because I don’t want the work and risk of owning a bike. You can’t exactly just park your bike anywhere in manhattan and it’s not always safe either. Plus, my commute is not always home to destination. If I were to take the subway in the morning but bike in the afternoon, I would have to lug my bike around with me in morning and that’s something I don’t want to do.

          1. creative group

            Tommy Chen:Follow the trends with investments we view as a follow the herd mentality that will be a losing platform.We acknowledge in populous cities the need for convenience has a price. But having rent a bike saturation in all major markets knowing either a winner will evolve or consolidation will be needed doesn’t address our view of VC funding being misappropriated. (The view was offered from an investment standpoint, pros and cons of the bicycle trend investment.)Your position to receive funding would be convenience, minimize risk of lost and our position would be oversaturation of major markets and rent vs owning ratio.

  7. Tom Labus

    What a great trip!!!

  8. pointsnfigures

    my friend Brendan Sullivan is setting this sort of system up all over the world. He’s in Taipei today.

  9. Geoff Jones

    Ofo have just moved into Cambridge, UK and seem to be doing well. Interestingly there are complaints about the streets getting cluttered with the bikes, no one seems to be complaining about cars cluttering the place up though 🙁

  10. Mike Zamansky

    Love bike shares and love citibike (and the Bike Angels program). Sobi bikes (http://socialbicycles.com/) started I think in our very own Brooklyn was developing and pitching a dockless bike share and for a while at least was in Hoboken.I’m still waiting for a clever entrepreneur to make a bike lock share — super strong locking ssystem on docks so you can take your own bike without having to lug enough chains to make you think your Jacob Marley.

  11. awaldstein

    Like you been a rhapsodist on the pleasures of CitiBike since the beginning.Citibike…urban product design at its best http://arnoldwaldstein.com/…Yup, like you the frustration of no open docs is a piss off often.Need to experience this no docking method to see if it is chaos of a solution. I’m hopeful.

    1. darthpelo

      In Amsterdam become chaos. We have a problem with parking bike and tourist used the floating bike to occupy our city 🙂 So Amsterdam municipality banned it: https://gopressmobility.be/

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks.Will be visiting Amsterdam in a few months btw. Kinda excited as been a while.

        1. darthpelo

          Of course I’m not against tourist 🙂 The problem is that if no one explain to them where to park, of course they drop bikes everywhere. I hope you’ll enjoy the city!

          1. awaldstein

            The natural order of crowds and messiness is a personal expertise and interest of mine and the core of all communities.

  12. DJL

    in Texas we tried sharing pickup trucks. But you get shot at if you pick the wrong one.

    1. Philippe Platon

      funny ! (or not?)

      1. DJL

        Just kidding. Outside of Austin, Nobody rides bikes in Texas (unless they are motorized).

        1. Philippe Platon

          I did find it funny

        2. ShanaC

          not even kids?

          1. DJL

            Yes, thank God. But to the park and school. I was referring to the adults and commuting.

    2. Susan Rubinsky

      hahaha. Thanks for the laugh.

  13. kidmercury

    Do any of these places have a helmet solution yet or is it still all riding without a helmet or bring you own? I never rode when I was in Chicago because I wanted a clean helmet without having to bring my own

    1. LE

      Was thinking about that and figured there must be ‘head socks’ that you could use to solve that issue. And there are. I use to hate when I went go carting as a kid and had to wear some often used helmet.As I said in my other comment a helmet may be providing a false sense of security when riding a bike in a dense city.

    2. Richard Carlow

      “air bag” helmet. For the fashion forward ;)https://www.theguardian.com…

  14. Kristjanfreyr

    Not sure if I agree. I use Hubway in Cambridge, MA area daily. I like the fact that I can count on stations, and see an overview on a map of how many bikes are docked etc.I do however think there needs to be a more optimised way of making sure there are bikes available during rush hour. If you’re 10 min later than usually you end up being 40 min late if you are using Hubway. Not sure how the Shanghai method solves this.

    1. Magnus

      The problem is solved by bikes being available everywhere. In tier 1 and most of tier 2 cities in PRC, you cannot really walk for more than a minute without seeing many available bikes.The problem to be solved now is too high of an supply of bikes, causing other bad issues.

  15. OurielOhayon

    next time you’re in Paris Fred try CityScoot/Coup: electric scooters you can leave anywhere. And soon Velib will be electrical. That s what all those Chinese bike networks are missing right now

  16. tblanx

    this was a struggle in ATX for SXSW and in other popular bikesharing spots around town.looks like i’m not the first to comment on solutions i’ve seen pop up for the “park anywhere” model. only downside i’ve seen is sometimes bikes end up in front lawns, unsafely on sidewalks, random spots for days. almost need a happy medium where there are dedicated racks but there’s also more flexibility when the system knows local areas are full.

  17. crazytrainmatt

    The dockless systems have the main advantage of lower capital cost and possibly lower regulation. But you have to check your phone for the bike and hope no one gets there before you do.The problem with citibike docks being full or empty is less about dock capacity than about directional peak demand. Adding more bikes and docks would increase the capacity of the system but not its efficiency. The good news is that bikes are a spectacularly scalable compared to the capital costs of new automobile or train infrastructure.The only way to increase efficiency is to shift demand to the reverse direction, through pricing or network design. This is one reason why the subways generally run from one borough through manhattan to another borough (this joins a peak segment with a reverse-peak segment that has zero marginal cost per rider but will pick up a certain amount of through-riding or reverse commuters) or why transit systems use variable pricing.Incidentally, this point gets lost in the discussion of autonomous vehicles. There is zero excess car capacity in the peak commute direction and metro-area traffic is packed so tightly that robot cars are unlikely to create any (though they could saturate the reverse peak too!).

    1. magnus

      “But you have to check your phone for the bike and hope no one gets there before you do.”For cities where the penetration of dock-less bikes is as great as the bigger cities of China, this is not an issue. You’d be hardpressed to walk for more than a minute and not see any bikes in a tier 1 or most of tier 2 cities of PRC.

    2. Sari Louis

      I’d love to see numbers on capital cost for dock vs. dockless: the former has higher station costs, but the latter has higher bike costs (GPS and cellular data at least), higher maintenance cost (same reasons), and higher rate of vandalism (I imagine). So yeah, would be interesting to see what the capital expenditure over 5 or 10 years would be for each system. I’m not convinced dockless would end up cheaper.

  18. Peng Jin

    The whole bike share thing is a classic example showing that government needs to be a part of the innovations in certain sectors. Municipal governments in China usually don’t involve themselves at all in tech startups. In the case of bike share, competition for customers and massive funds raised resulted in millions of bikes on the streets of Beijing and Shanghai. Almost all of the pedestrian paths outside my residence are flooded by unused bikes. Bikes are also piled up near subway stations, sometimes even blocking the main roads. Most municipal governments to this day don’t do anything to try to regulate this. As much as I love innovations, I think this kind of barbaric competition without any regard for the inconvenience it causes is really sick. It is the modern day city pollution.

  19. Declan Cole

    Took part in the pilot of this when it was rolled out in Milan a few weeks ago-bikes seemed light compared to NY Citibikes. The Citibike app is great but there are too many bikes in NY that have a red light on them that means they can’t be activated- don’t know what causes this?Have you signed up to the ‘Bike Angels’ program with Citibike?

  20. vankula

    Fred, curious if you usually carry a helmet with you in case you use a bike or sometimes roll the dice with no helmet?

    1. Mike Zamansky

      I got this a couple of months ago – great folding bike helmet that folds flat to fit into a bag:https://www.morpherhelmet.com/

  21. atmssg

    In DC we have Capitol Bikeshare, which is the same as city bike. Recently, multiple bikeshare companies have popped up – and you’ll see obviously-sharable bikes just sitting in areas, but it feels random. The inventory is no where close the the inventory of the Capitol Bikes. https://www.washingtonpost….Just this morning someone asked me about Capitol bikeshare, vs the other options. She was starting a new job and wondering which subscription to join. It was my strong opinion to join Capitol Bikes, because most of commuting is habit and routine. It’s important to know where you are heading in the morning to start your commute. I told her do Capitol Bike. I didn’t see advantages to the new players, but this post clearly highlights one advantage.In DC we don’t really have the drop off- full rack problem, but I have seen this in NYC. It seems that the best solution would stock the racks, so when someone wants a bike, they know where to go AND riders could end their ride in the rack, near the rack or really anywhere within a range. That is closer to a solution for the pickup and dropoff problems.

  22. Philippe Platon

    I have read somewhere than one of the biggest bike-sharing companies in China had to discontinue service because most of their bikes had vanished. I guess anti-theft technology must vary from one company to the other, but this is surely an issue (in Paris, when they emptied the Saint-Martin Canal to clean it, dozens of Velib bicycles emerged from the mud).The new service that will replace Velib in Paris in 2018 will combine docking stations with a functionality that will allow to leave a bicycle next to a doking station when it is full. That is a great improvement, indeed.

    1. Magnus

      I wasn’t “one of the biggest”. Mobike, Ofo, bluegogo, all still present.

  23. Salt Shaker

    3 dockless bike companies now competing in Seattle (Limebike, Spin and Ofo). Seems to be working fairly well here, but I have observed an occasional bike ditching literally in the middle of nowhere. A dockless system imo will never work in Manhattan cause of the pop density. The sidewalks are way too crowded as is, and random parking could be a safety hazzard for pedestrians, especially midtown. (Shanghai and Chinese culture are orderly, New Yorkers aren’t). Not sure how a no helmet requirement passes muster w/ any of these bike share programs, though. Urban biking w/ no helmet is crazy! The old bike share system w/ docking in Seattle did provide helmets, but that program was mismanaged and disbanded.

    1. LE

      Human nature wise ‘no helmet when not using your own bike’ is somewhat similar to:1 – Seatbelt not worn in backseat of cab2 – Seatbelt not worn in limo3 – Kid not put in child seat when on vacation4 – Eat food in restaurant and have no clue of sanitary procedures (but yet follow them fastidiously when in your own house.5 – Walk around hotel neighborhood at night, not worrying because you don’t know the area enough to know the actual risk.It’s much more dangerous to ride a bike around Manhattan than it would be in any Suburb neighborhood. Yet people don’t seem to think about the risk (downside) only the upside and benefits. Accidents that don’t kill someone never make the news. Wonder how many near misses there are.

      1. Susan Rubinsky

        There actually is data on this… one of the (many) blogs I subscribe to. It’s in here somewhere – https://www.transalt.org/ne

    2. Magnus

      “(Shanghai and Chinese culture are orderly, New Yorkers aren’t)”Chinese people are orderly? You mean the American-born Chinese one might come across inside a fancy expat hotel/bar/etc? If not, I would be hard pressed to find any foreigner or Chinese person in China that would agree with the statement “Chinese culture is orderly”

      1. Brooklyn Guy

        From what I have observed in videos on YouTube, it is getting better. (again, this is secondhand observation, not firsthand) If you go to a first-tier city in China, you are bound to see orderly line-ups and people who understand what they are supposed to do. If you get to second and third tier cities, things may not be as orderly.

        1. Salt Shaker

          My experience too.

        2. Magnus

          It is getting better, indeed.While the n-tier city distinction does directionally note higher/better etiquette/orderliness, it also depends on the regional differences.I have lived (and still do) in Beijing for a long while as well as spending months in other cities in China. When going to more upscale establishments, yes, most people know how to queue well, etc. Go to more normal establishments, it is not the case at all.But Guangzhou, for instance, I have found to lack a lot of orderliness among the people. Same with Chengdu. Both I have found to be much, much less orderly than a city like Jinan (tier 2, capital of Shandong). But this is likely due to Shandong people generally being thought of (throughout China) as very “honest”.

      2. Salt Shaker

        Well, you got me Magnus, you sly dog. Hardly the main point of my post.

        1. PhilipSugar

          I was going to rip you on this as well. As a Prop at the head of the Rugby Scrum, I’d say I’d rather be in there other than a queue in China.London? Ok.

          1. Vasudev Ram

            >other than a queue in China.Or in India.

          2. PhilipSugar

            Look at one of my guys I send. He is 6’5 and 380lbs (he claims, I think he is in the four bill club). That is two meters and 175 kilos. He gets jostled. I tell him never push back

          3. Vasudev Ram

            Wow. I used to read Alistair Maclean, Desmond Bagley, Louis L’Amour, and suchlike adventure novels as a kid and teenager (still would, just don’t know of too many good ones these days, is all. As of now, instead, I read misc. interesting topics on net forums and Wikipedia :). The heroes in those novels were often described as 6′ plus and 200 pounds plus. So your guy is almost double (in weight).

          4. PhilipSugar

            Look at the office door for perspective. 7 feet high, three feet wide. I have two bigger.

          5. Vasudev Ram

            Floored ,,, I mean doored 🙂

          6. PhilipSugar

            Think he stands out?He had never been out of the country, I told him three rules:1. When you get off the plane you take a 30 minute walk, you are a big man.2. Personal space is not the same. When somebody is in your face, just walk away. He is a happy go lucky guy but I also am big and the first time somebody gets in your face the first instinct is to push them.3. When you are asked if you are lonely in the elevator you are not lonely.He texted me after landing in Shanghai. “I walked like you told me and two girls came up to me and said: You a big American you must like beer and rubbed my stomach, I did what you said and just walked”Oh, we laughed.

          7. Vasudev Ram

            Now me too.

          8. Vasudev Ram

            Oh, those Russians :)BoneyM.

          9. PhilipSugar

            He is French.

          10. Vasudev Ram

            It was a joke, referring to that BoneyM song (about Rasputin).

          11. PhilipSugar

            Ha! See we both didn’t understand the other. That is great! That is how we learn and grow.

          12. Vasudev Ram

            Agreed 🙂

          13. Vasudev Ram

            >learn and grow.I was thinking more about that, and remembered that a few years ago, I was talking with a friend about some experiences in my life. I spontaneously said to him that “I’ve grown as a person” (from that and other stuff) – and was a bit surprised to find myself saying something like that. But then I realized it was real. So agreed (again). Life is about growth and change.

          14. PhilipSugar

            What we have to do is learn and grow. I am a huge believer that it is a choice.

          15. Vasudev Ram

            What’s the four bill club? Thought and googled it before asking, still didn’t get it. Struggling to guess 🙂 Some tries:- he gets billed (like for restaurants and flights) four times as much as regular guys, because of his size?- he’s in the club of (only) four guys (called Bill) because of their size?- …

          16. PhilipSugar

            Means you weigh over four hundred pounds. Bill means hundred dollar bill, the other nicknames are Benjamin (On the face of the bill) or Stone (which happens to be a British measure of weight)I am solidly in the two bill club. I stay out of the three bill club.His brother who dwarfs him is in the five bill club.

          17. Vasudev Ram

            Got it now, thanks. Did know about the term Benjamin (for Franklin) and the stone unit. Interesting.

          18. Vasudev Ram

            I was a bit surprised when I read a few years ago that on average, the Dutch were the tallest people in the world. I know a few Dutch people, and they are tall, but would not have thought there was any specific reason why the Dutch as a nation should be the tallest on average.

          19. PhilipSugar

            In my experience the only people that are significantly taller and bigger than most are Scandinavian Women. Not sure why this is. But generally when I am looking up to a woman that is taller and broader than me (I have a 52 inch chest) she is always Scandinavian. (From MN or a Scandinavian Nation)

          20. Vasudev Ram

            >From MN or a Scandinavian NationYes, I’ve read that there were many Scandinavians who settled in those Midwest / Northern US states like WI, MN etc. I guess the similar climate (cold etc.) to their homelands had something to do with it.

    3. ShanaC

      It could work in NYC if NYC gave up some of the precious street car parking to bike parking more generally – citibike has a monopoly on that type of parking, alas

  24. Tommaso Trionfi

    IN SF there is a service that works like this. Red bikes.

  25. Lance

    I have 2,000 miles logged with Citibike. A total game changer as long as you have a helmet at all times – both cyclists and drivers in NYC disregard most every law. Lumos is great for night riding: https://lumoshelmet.co Side note, when is NYC going to crack down on the illegal bikes with motors that most every delivery person uses? I do wish there were better options for riding my own bike….possible theft + lack of good options for locking up make it impossible. Japan has definitely nailed this one, not sure how readily available these are: https://www.youtube.com/wat

    1. Philippe Platon

      THAT is cool.

  26. jason wright

    time to rebalance? scooter, skateboard, and roller skates are entry level alts.

  27. wilbeibi

    About messy:They do have employees to reorder the bikes at nights. It the very cost bike company should take in to consideration in the first place.About helmet:There are not rules to force to wear helmets in China. Because in many streets there are fenced, bike only lanes.

  28. daryn

    We have those same ones in Seattle now. Way better than the old dock based system (which failed here), but feels like they are getting a lot more abuse — saw one in the lake, in bushes, knocked over, seats missing, etc.this is why we can’t have nice things…

  29. MartinEdic

    Here in Rochester we have Zagster and an extra buck you can leave the bike at any city sidewalk bike rack. They track locations…

    1. ShanaC

      Zagster is also where I now live in Colorado

  30. RichK1

    not a plug in any way, but after seeing this morning’s blog, this afternoon’s Potomac Tech Wire featured the following blurb on LimeBike:o LimeBike Raises $50 Million for Dockless Bike Sharing ServiceSan Mateo, Calif. — LimeBike, the developer of a dockless bike sharing service that has operated in DC since midyear, said it has raised $50 million in its second round of funding, which the company will use to speed the rollout of its programs into more than 30 cities and campuses across by year end. Coatue Management led the round, which also included participation from new investors GGV Capital, Franklin Templeton Investments, Section32, AME Cloud Ventures, Stanford-StartX Fund and The Durant Company, as well as previous backers Andreessen Horowitz and DCM Ventures. The Silicon Valley company, which now has raised $62 million since its inception, is the largest dockless bikeshare operator in the U.S., with approximately 10,000 bikes deployed in 20 markets. Rides cost $1 for 30 minutes or $0.50 for students. The “smart” lime-green bikes are enabled with GPS, wireless technology and self-activating locks, allowing users to park anywhere. The company said it will use the new funds to expand operations, support ongoing upgrades to its bike design and the mobile app and increase the size of the current deployed fleet by 10 times towards the end of 2017. http://www.limebike.com/ https://www.prnewswire.com/

  31. Simona Heidempergher

    here in Milan Italy they both started in September, last week there were pictures shared on social media of all the Mobike thrown in the canals by vandals. Turns out they were recovered by the canoeists training to show we are still a civil city

  32. TedHoward

    It’s for-profit litter. Yet it’s also a welcome addition to transit!!Seattle’s Burke-Gilman Trail is now littered with bikes. The term “littered” is not an accident. There are bikes upside down in the drainage ditch nearly every block. Sometimes bikes are left blocking the trail sideways; I’ve had to move a few just to jog past. I’ve also seen them randomly scattered near sidewalks. “Scattered” is apt.

    1. TedHoward

      I’m not at all against it. ~1999 I was in Copenhagen with my now-wife. At the time they had a great bike-share system … but I had never learned to ride a bike! I was still impressed and wondered why US cities didn’t have an equivalent.

  33. aminTorres

    This is a classic UX issue where the solution is right in front of company but they don’t see it. If they go this route, they will incur loses stated by many in the comments already. Lost bikes, there will be bikes all over the Hudson river, you’ll see more and more of their parts show up at bikes shops., etc.So what CitiBike should do is leverage data to add the right amount of extra docking slots at each station. The money they will lose by letting people leave the bikes everywhere they can invest to create a better user experience. So the solution looks something like this. If you have a bike station at 13th and 6av and you plan to have 30 bikes there, add 10 extra docking slots. And do that in each station nearby.You get ahead of your future loses but most importantly, you create an experience where more people will likely use the bikes because the chances of finding an open docking slot a their destination will increase to almost always if not always.

  34. Reinout Heeck

    These bikes have overrun the city of Amsterdam to such an extent that the city government is now removing them. The economic model is that these companies are using public space as their shop for free, unsurprisingly the city suffered a tragedy of the commons situation…. Be careful what you wish for!

  35. Michael Elling

    Businesses succeed when their pricing clears their costs…at the margin. I don’t know any of these business models directly, but I suspect few do so on a sustainable basis at present and even those who do, could do so much, much better.The only way to really succeed is to build a stack to understand all the supply and demand elements across the network, control and application layers, as well as interconnectedness to other transit and economic ecosystems.But it is ironic that what the author wants out of bike share systems is not consistent with what the author says and believes in distributed models in general.Bottom-line, neither fully distributed nor totally centralized is sustainable anywhere in nature or across all of mankinds’ socio-economic and political inventions/institutions. We are just now figuring that out as digital network effects wreak havoc on so many fronts. We should learn from and apply to bike-share systems the notion of centralized-decentralized hierarchical networks (CDHNs).

  36. Sundar Subramanian

    The dockless bikes can sometime become a nightmare for city and uncertain for the user. While both docked and dockless have a space in market there is room for process improvement. An hybrid model with a drop zone for docked could be a potential solution. CitiBike does have a BikeAngel program that provides incentives to riders that help with re-balancing.

  37. LivePaola

    Come to Milano, Italy and you’ll see Ofo and Mobike bikes too. Some of the same issues as in Sydney and Melbourne, as already pointed out, but overall a vastly user-friendlier experience than the docked version, which I use less and less.

  38. Alex

    Isn’t this what (US-based company) LimeBike is doing also? Sounds like NYC just needs to change their provider? http://www.limebike.com/

  39. ShanaC

    q – does shanhai move the bikes around from area to area en mass the way NY does in order to equalize distribution?(this is something that is a VERY NYC problem, bikes can overcluster in certain areas throughout the day, so citibike sticks them on trucks and literally moves them)

  40. Jan Schultink

    The Amsterdam municipality is now banning “rogue bike sharing services” because of cluttering up bike parking spots…https://www.citylab.com/tra

  41. Thomas Luk

    Zoning areas are still required, otherwise it becomes an abuse of public space. It’s the balance between convenience and abuse which needs to be carefully managed. However just deploying bikes in the wild should not be the norm.

  42. Jacky Yang

    Dropbike here in Toronto is doing the same thing. Quite convenient but I have no idea what they do with the bikes when it starts snowing all winter long.

  43. JamesHRH

    He’s on vacation.

  44. PhilipSugar

    This is why when somebody says the U.S. should do what X country does they have no clue.