Coney Island

Dockless bike-share trial coming to Coney Island

Concerns About Current Construction Lead to Delay in Launch

July 3, 2018 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The city will begin testing a new, dockless bike-share program in Coney Island later this year, bringing the next generation of bike sharing to places that don’t already have Citi Bike, shown above. Photo by Mary Frost
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The city will begin testing a new, dockless bike-share program in Coney Island later this year, part of a four-borough pilot that will bring the next generation of bike sharing to places that don’t already have Citi Bike.

Because of concerns about current construction, Coney Island will be the last of four test sites to get the dockless bikes.

Unlike Citi Bike, dockless bikes do not require bulky physical docking stations, instead allowing bikes to be unlocked and rented using a mobile phone, usually for $1 or $2 per ride of up to about a half hour each.

Some of the bikes are expected to be pedal-assist bicycles. Under a rule adopted last week by the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT), the two companies offering pedal-assist bikes can be operational after Saturday, July 28 — the date when the city’s rule clarifying pedal-assist bikes’ legal status goes into effect.

The other three locations include the Rockaways, central Bronx and the North Shore of Staten Island. Each community will receive at least 200 bikes, including the pedal-assist models.

The Rockaways will be the first to receive the bikes later this month, followed by the Bronx and Staten Island. In Brooklyn, the pilot will be operated by the company Motivate, the parent company behind Citi Bike, and possibly another, unnamed company, according to the city.

In the other boroughs, the companies Lime, Motivate, ofo and Pace will offer regular bikes, while pedal-assist models will be offered by either JUMP or Lime. (JUMP was recently acquired by Uber.)

The pilot will run until September, after which time DOT will determine whether the program will be continued, based upon performance.

DOT: Give Them a Try and Let Us Know

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg encouraged New Yorkers to try out the bikes — and send in feedback. “Each of the five selected companies are leaders in this emerging field, and in the course of the pilot, we will see how they perform in diverse New York City neighborhoods that have never before seen bike share,” she said in a statement.

The pilot is a result of a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) issued last December seeking ideas around dockless bike-share systems. Twelve different dockless companies had initially responded to the RFEI. All of the new dockless systems will be required to operate entirely outside of Citi Bike areas in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, so as to not undermine current bike-share service.

During June, DOT visited affected community boards to discuss the idea. As a result, DOT adjusted its plans for Coney Island, where strong community concerns about current construction projects and summer crowding led to a postponement of the pilot there until later this year.

Councilmember Mark Treyger supported the rollout, saying in a statement that the dockless bikes could “reduce congestion and emissions while encouraging active, healthy lifestyles.”

In a bit of a stretch, Citi Bike General Manager Kris Sandor compared Citi Bike, which owns Motivate, to the Coney Island’s world-famous Wonder Wheel.

“Citi Bike is as iconic New York as the Wonder Wheel — and we look forward to delivering a fun, accessible and affordable mobility option that residents and visitors will use and enjoy,” Sandor said.

Bike riding is allowed on the Coney Island Boardwalk during the summer months only between the hours of 5 a.m.-10 a.m.


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