Is Dallas gearing up for battle of dockless bike-share providers? Better strap your helmet on tightly, because it appears so.
LimeBike, a national bike-share program announced Thursday that it’s launching this month at partner business locations in Dallas, joining VBike and Spin in placing rentable bicycles around town.
VBikes is based in Garland and launched in June. Spin is San Francisco based. If you can’t remember the names, just look for their colors — lime green, yellow, and orange.
Here’s how the programs differ:
- LimeBike — Requires no deposit fee to use a bike. Scan to unlock. Pay-as-you rides cost $1, or 50 cents for students, for 30 minutes. Park it anywhere.
- VBikes — Charges a $99 refundable fee when you sign up. The bikes cost $1 an hour and have a Bluetooth-enabled lock that unlocks when you hover an app-equipped phone over the bike. You can leave it anywhere.
- Spin — No deposit fee. Scan the app to unlock. Rides are $1 for 30 minutes. Park it anywhere.
LimeBike said it will base an operations and maintenance team locally to support its program and will hire dozens of full- and part-time workers.
BIKE-SHARE PROGRAMS WORKING WITH CITY
LimeBike CEO and co-founder Toby Sun says the company has been extremely encouraged by the community support and reception in Dallas so far.
“Dallas is a forward-thinking town that is at the intersection of sustainability and economic development,” he said in a release. “By working closely with city leaders, community organizations, and local businesses, we plan on ramping up service quickly in order to provide commuters and cycling enthusiasts an empowering way to get around in Dallas.”
“Dallas is a forward-thinking town that is at the intersection of sustainability and economic development.”
Lee Kleinman, city council member for District 11, chairs the Council’s Mobility Solutions, Infrastructure, and Sustainability Committee, and sees bike programs such as LimeBike as a boost for Dallas.
Kleinman said he looks forward to working with the council and staff to “make this virtually unregulated program a success.”
“At no cost to the city, this is a win-win for Dallas,” he said. “We’ll improve the quality of life by providing residents an innovative transportation alternative while reducing motorized street traffic.”
VBikes also is working with the city.
Jared White, of the city’s Mobility and Street Services Department, told D Magazine in June that city staff is amenable to VBikes’ plans.
“I live downtown and just started seeing them,” White said. “I read about what’s going on in other cities and how these folks kind of just show up. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s interesting in that this could be a really good opportunity to get a bike-share system because we’re not able to fund one.”
Dockless bike-sharing is big business around the world, particularly in China where venture capital is getting behind the industry.
TechCrunch reported that Atomico already has placed a large bet on Ofo, a Beijing-based dockless bike-share outfit that has raised roughly $580 million from VCs. It’s the same story at Shanghai-based Mobike, which has raised about $410 million from investors and also claims a valuation of more than $1 billion.