The Rockaways' dockless bike provider is expanding its fleet by fifty percent, giving a boost to a somewhat troubled pilot program that kicked off on the peninsula last summer.
According to a spokesperson for the company, Lime will begin adding 200 bikes to their current stock of 400 starting this weekend. Most of the bikes on the ground are already pedal-assist, and all of the new ones will be as well. They cost $1 to unlock, with an additional 15 cents charge added per minute. (Unlike other bike-share programs, there's no subscription option.)
Back in July, the city tapped five companies to launch dockless pilot programs in four outerborough neighborhoods—the Rockaways, Fordham University in the Bronx, Staten Island's North Shore, and Coney Island—that do not have access to Citi Bike. Initially, Rockaway was to be jointly served by Lime and Pace, though the latter company pulled out within three months, citing plummeting ridership at the tail end of summer.
While Lime has stuck around, that pilot has also faced its own set of problems. From the outset, users reported glitches on the app and issues unlocking the bikes. The dockless part of the system, which permits users to leave the bikes just about anywhere, also brought its own adjustment period ("They're already up in the trees!" one local told us.)
Unfortunately, those growing pains don't seem to have been ironed out quite yet; when Gothamist's Scott Lynch visited the beach last weekend, he found the dockless situation to be a "goddam travesty."
"I tried out at least ten bikes, only two of which worked," said Lynch. "You'd go to the bike to put in the QR code and it'd be down for maintenance. Or they'd say 'congrats you unlocked it,' and then it would not actually unlock. The ones that worked were kind of broken as well. It was sad."
The company's NY General Manager, Gil Kazimirov, told Gothamist that "nearly all the bikes are operational and on the ground," and that a team is conducting frequent field inspections.
"Lime is here to provide affordable and reliable transportation options in the Rockaways," Kazimirov added. "It clearly shows: Rockaway residents and visitors took almost 90,000 rides on Lime in the Rockaways—even through the colder winter months."
A spokesperson also speculated that sea spray from the ocean could be mucking up the locks. Anyone who does encounter bike issues is urged to contact the company directly.
In addition to operating dockless bike programs throughout the New York region, Lime is also responsible for several scooter pilots, including the one that launched in Hoboken last week. After speaking with a single "furious driver," CBS has dutifully reported that "two wheel terrors" are currently sowing chaos all over town.
New York City's own effort to legalize e-bikes and motorized scooters has faced roadblocks thus far, though current bills in Albany could make the transit mode a reality in the five boroughs soon. Bring on the chaos.
Every day we draw nearer to the day when the scooters reach NYC and I, for one, cannot wait for the absolute collective meltdown this will produce.
— Max RN (@MaxRivlinNadler) July 13, 2018
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