Dockless bike shares may still roll on in Rockaway. Last we left off with the Department of Transportation, the fate of dockless bikes was up in the air, but the DOT has since released a request for dockless bike-sharing companies to throw their spokes into the ring.
Earlier this summer, the DOT announced that Lime Bike’s pilot would be coming to an end in the fall and they were unsure if they would continue dockless bike sharing in the Rockaways. This announcement came as a bit of a shock following Lime’s success, with the company seeing 143K trips by 21K riders since its launch in the Rockaways in the summer of 2018. It was such a success that Lime even expanded its pilot earlier this year, adding another 200 bikes to its Rockaway fleet of now 600. The news was followed by heavy pushback from Councilman Donovan Richards’ office and riders who know Rockaway is a transportation desert.
It now looks as if DOT is hoping to keep dockless bikes in Rockaway, but whether that will be with Lime or not, is still up in the air. On August 19, the DOT released a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for Phase II of dockless bike sharing in Rockaway.
“DOT’s RFEI for Phase II of the dockless program is separate from the earlier pilot in the area,” a DOT spokesperson said. “As noted previously, DOT stated we would work with the community and bike share companies to determine the future of bike share in the Rockaways. Phase II aims to maintain continuous dockless bike share service in the Rockaways.”
The RFEI seeks bike sharing companies that want to serve the Rockaways. This means that a company different from Lime could be the next one to serve the peninsula, but Lime could apply again. “We are currently reviewing the RFEI,” a Lime spokesperson said. Bike sharing companies have until September 18 to express their interest and the DOT hopes to choose a company to serve the community by November 2019. Lime will continue to serve the community until the winter, when Phase II will begin with either Lime or another company.