And the dockless bike share program only launched here in May.
When I wrote that my city was getting several "dockless" bike share operators, I wondered out loud how well they'd do in a city with a relatively nascent bike culture, and a definite lack of infrastructure. That question was reenforced when I took one of these bikes for a spin—it was a lot of fun to ride, and I could see myself occasionally using it, but as a bike owner and city dweller I was unlikely to be a regular rider.
So who is the audience for these schemes?
LimeBike—one of the operators here in Durham—just released some interesting statistics based on their first seven months operating in North Carolina. Having launched first in Greensboro in March, LimeBike now also operates in Raleigh and Durham. During that time, they say LimeBike riders have hit some pretty impressive milestones:
—53,300 cumulative miles ridden
—1,600,000 calories burned in Raleigh/Durham and Greensboro
—28,900 lbs of CO2 saved in Raleigh/Durham and Greensboro
—28,000 active riders
The average riding time and distance is also illustrative, coming in at 5:55 minutes and covering just 0.79 miles. That sounds to me like it's not going to replace hardcore bike riders, but rather it's going to add options at the beginning and end of transit trips. Or for folks wanting to avoid getting in their car for a lunchtime meeting. (I've already had a friend in City Hall texting me photos of city employees heading to meetings on these things. And I see a fair few folks pottering around on them downtown...)
LimeBike's national statistics—which point to 1,000,000 miles in under six months—would seem to back up this story, with 40% of rides starting or stoping at public transit stations. ("Ugh, gross," shudders Elon...) Of course, these are statistics from one operator, which, of course, has its own agenda and story to tell, but they do suggest that dockless bike share is offering a genuinely novel addition to urban communities' transportation options.
Now let's see if they can sustain themselves as a commercially viable proposition...