If you’re heading out to the Rockaways for a beach day this weekend, you’ll have a new way to get around: Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYC Department of Transportation announced that the city’s dockless bike share pilot is officially underway, with the first bikes rolling out today along the Rockaway peninsula.
Lime and Pace were selected as the operators for this particular neighborhood, with a total of 400 bikes between the two companies during the pilot. Lime will have 100 traditional two-wheelers and 100 pedal-assist bikes; the latter will be available after July 28, when legislation allowing for their place on city streets goes into effect. Pace will have 200 regular bikes, with the first 50 available now, and the rest available within a week.
Actually getting onto a bike will be familiar to anyone who’s used the Citi Bike app—you simply download the app for your preferred operator, sign up for an account, and use that to unlock a bike. Both Lime and Pace’s apps show you where bikes are currently available, and when you’re finished riding, they show you where you can park. (As of this writing, Pace is showing plenty of bikes and parking spots in the Rockaways; Lime’s app wasn’t showing any available bikes yet, but that will likely change.)
“With a dockless bike, the miles from Jacob Riis Park to the A train, or from @NYCFerry dock to one of the many great restaurants will seem so much more conquerable and fun,” ~ Commissioner Trottenberg in the #Rockaways today. #bikenyc pic.twitter.com/OQItYsLDf8— NYC DOT (@NYC_DOT) July 13, 2018
The Rockaway peninsula is the first area to get dockless bikes in New York City; over the next few months, more will roll out in Fordham, Staten Island’s North Shore, and Coney Island. Operators for the pilot include Motivate (Citi Bike’s parent company, which was recently acquired by Lyft), Jump (owned by Uber), and ofo, which began in China but now has bikes throughout the U.S.
The DOT is also soliciting feedback on the pilot through its website; that will inform how it decides to proceed with a dockless program after the pilot is over.
One thing New Yorkers won’t see as part of the program: scooters, which have become a hot-button issue in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.