Dock-based bike-share systems do not feel threatened by dockless ones
19 March, 2019
Recent news are backing the theory that dockless and dock-based bike-share solutions are complementary more than rivals. Even if some cities, frightened by the failure of some Asian operators in 2018, have adopted total or partial restriction towards dockless bike-share, in places where systems are cohabiting the competition seems positive for both systems. More bikes mean more cyclist, more demand, more infrastructure. A virtuous circle.
Providers such as Motivate/Lyft understood the solutions synergy, by launching a dockless/dock-based mix in Minneapolis for example with Nice Ride, the local operator. And it’s not killing the docked bikes ridership, but most of all extending the service area.
The boom of e-bikes in shared mobility is another argument for dock-based solutions. The charging management, as for e-scooters, is a huge challenge to address, and docks seem to be the most efficient solution. As a proof, Jump has developed its charging docks, which can be used in Sacrament or San Francisco for now. As Jump’s Alex Vickers says “I think it’s a hybrid, really, where you can park outside the dock if you want to, but if you want to park your bike at a transit station that has our charging infrastructure.”
Jump, the main dockless e-bike operator, is planning to launch in Paris and Montreal. Operators CEOs, Arnaud Marion for Vélib (Smovengo) and Christian Vermette for Bixi, are both confident for the health of their services in reaction to the American arrival. According to the French, the fleet size (2500, to double soon) and price of the service (unlimited e-bike rides only cost 97€/year) will keep riders on the local bicycles. According to the Canadian, the regulation and ridership increase records together with the authorities confidence are big arguments.
Next year will tell.