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Is the city riding toward a dockless bikeshare future?

With 53M rides since Citi Bike’s 2013 launch, other bikeshares have been champing at the bit to get their wheels on the ground here.

With other bikeshares champing at the bit to get their wheels on the ground in Citi Bike’s exclusive territory in New York City, the Department of Transportation appears open to adding dockless options for cyclists, Crain’s reported Tuesday.

The DOT is slated to formally ask dockless companies how their bikeshare model would operate in New York, three sources told the publication.

“DOT is evaluating the viability of the newest bike-sharing technology in order to expand the system,” the agency said in a statement. “This includes meeting with the industry, though our immediate focus remains on the continued expansion of (Citi Bike’s) Phase II, which is ongoing.”

By yearend, Citi Bike’s expansion will bring the total number of bikes in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Jersey City to 12,000 — and fulfill the current exclusivity contract its operator, Motivate, has with the city.

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With nearly 53 million rides since Citi Bike launched in 2013, it’s no surprise other companies want to steer their bikeshares into the market.

Unlike Citi Bike, which must be picked up and returned to one of its 600 docking stations, dockless companies like Limebike, Spin, Mobike and Ofo allow riders to pick up and drop off bicycles at just about any bike rack or designated area using their respective apps.

Spin, which is in 10 markets nationwide and postponed a 300-bike demo in the Rockaways in August, told Metro Tuesday that it met with city officials this summer about possible expansion opportunities.

“Spin is excited to launch in New York City,” Head of Growth James Moore said. “Spin is enthusiastic to work with NYCDOT, as we have with local governments throughout the country. … we eagerly await the green light to get our orange bikes on the ground. Spin will provide an immediate, affordable last-mile transportation option to areas outside of Manhattan where Citi Bike currently does not service.”

In September, Limebike also met with city brass about bringing its lime-green bikes to town just as the California-based company was launching in Washington, D.C., its first major East Coast market. The company serves 17 national markets, including nine cities and eight college campuses.

“LimeBike would, of course, like to serve NYC and boroughs underserved by smart bikeshare,” said Maggie Gendron, director of strategic development. “We eagerly await direction from NYC DOT on how to participate in bikesharing. Given the sheer density of the city, it is imperative for a successful dockless program to work with the city and city stakeholders on how to do this effectively and successfully.”

Motivate did not respond to a request for comment. 

 
 
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