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Staten Island could get its own dockless bike-share pilot

More than 61,000 riders have used dockless bikes on Staten Island since last summer

Dockless bikes from Lime and Jump on Staten Island in July 2018.
Courtesy of NYC DOT

Building on the success of last summer’s initial dockless bike-share pilot program, the New York City Department of Transportation announced today that it wants to keep those two-wheelers rolling with a borough-specific pilot on Staten Island.

The DOT has released a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) for a Staten Island pilot program, saying that it wants to “evaluate the safety, orderliness, quality, practicality, utilization, and sustainability” of a larger dockless investment in the city.

And Staten Island is a solid candidate for that experimentation. Currently, it’s not served by Citi Bike, and As part of the larger, citywide dockless pilot, which launched last summer, 400 bikes—provided by Lime and the Uber-backed Jump—rolled out in the North Shore, with 61,000 trips taken since then.

“Lime is proud of the success of its dock-free bikeshare programs in the Rockaways and Staten Island, and would love to see them grow so that more New Yorkers who need reliable, affordable transportation have access to our vehicles,” Phil Jones, senior director of east coast government relations and strategic partnerships at Lime, said in a statement. “We hope that, very soon, all New Yorkers will have access to dock-free bikes and scooters—so that anyone can get around their city easily, regardless of income or zip code.”

In a statement, DOT commissioner Polly Trottenberg noted that the pilot was so popular, that some of the bikes ended up in other parts of the borough. “Now that riders have voted with their feet, we want to have the entire island to be available to them,” she said. “Not only do we know that bike share is offering a great new travel option of thousands, we also think it has helped contribute to Vision Zero, as the last year with hundreds of Lime and JUMP bikes on the street has also been the safest year ever on the borough’s streets.”

Per the RFEI, the pilot could include regular dockless bikes, or pedal-assist e-bikes that are equipped with dockless technology. (Jump’s dockless e-bikes are already in use in San Francisco, among other cities.) It also puts potential vendors on the hook for ensuring that the bikes are cleaned, maintained, and charged (in the case of e-bikes), as well as for rebalancing bikes and ensuring they’re not left in strange places.

DOT, meanwhile, expressed the possibility that it will implement “corrals” where dockless bikes could be parked.

The agency will be taking responses through May, with the expectation that a pilot could launch as soon as July—one year from when the city’s initial foray into dockless technology began.