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NYC takes strides toward making dockless bike share a reality

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The city has issued an RFEI to consider the possibility of bringing dockless bikes to places Citi Bike doesn’t serve

True to its word, the city’s Department of Transportation has now issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for a new dockless bike share program. So as not to compete with the existing Citi Bike network in the city, the RFEI asks companies to focus on the outer boroughs, particularly areas that don’t have access to Citi Bike services.

“New Yorkers have embraced public bike sharing faster than anyone expected,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a statement. “These past four years, we’ve strengthened Citi Bike and doubled its size. Now it’s time to take the next big step and bring safe, reliable and affordable bike sharing to even more of the city.”

Through the RFEI, the city is hoping to gauge the feasibility of bringing bike sharing to parts of the Bronx and Staten Island, and other areas that are underserved by Citi Bike. Through this RFEI, the city will evaluate if the dockless bike sharing model is actually more cost-effective and faster to implement in the outer reaches of the city.

As such, these dockless bikes would have locking mechanisms installed in the bike itself, and could possibly be unlocked through mobile phones. They would likely need to have parking areas with designated boundaries, but other than that, there would be no need for individual docks.

“The people of The Bronx have shown incredible enthusiasm for bike sharing programs, and this RFEI represents an excellent opportunity to explore and examine innovative new ideas that could finally make bike sharing a reality in our borough,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.

Following the RFEI, the city will consider implementing a dockless program on a pilot basis.