The Bike Share boom saw a phenomenal rise in both docked and dockless public Bike Sharing systems. Today, these schemes are being forced to rethink their approach if they want to succeed in the long-term. It’s not about who can supply the most bikes in a market, but about how effectively they can manage and maintain their existing operations. In the race to win global market share, dockless, or free-floating, Bike Share providers were quick to deploy their multi-coloured bikes on local streets, globally. It led to an oversupply of bikes in many regions which didn’t cater to local demand. It was one of the first times we saw the full extent of the management issues in dockless schemes with stacks of abandoned and damaged bikes.
Free-floating schemes are often positioned as having no cost to a city, but they have to ask themselves is “free” really free? There can be enormous costs associated with making sure bikes are parked appropriately and not cluttering an already busy urban landscape. Local residents, city planners and operators should all have a say in how free-floating schemes are implemented and managed.
Today, we’re seeing dockless Bike Share operators pull out of major cities with ofo, Mobike, oBike, Reddy Go and Gobee recently shutting down operations around the world. In 2018 alone, Ofo has pulled out of Australia, India, Israel and numerous cities across the US including Washington D.C., Chicago and Miami. It’s a warning sign that investment is not purely enough to succeed in new markets.
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