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Dockless Bike Sharing

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Old 07-19-18, 10:59 AM
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Dockless Bike Sharing

Most of the news I see/read about dockless bike-sharing involves some focus on it as a nuisance to be regulated. Now I see this article about one company withdrawing from the US and several other national markets because of regulatory obstructions, and I wonder if dockless bike and/or scooter sharing will actually be able to establish itself everywhere (inside and outside US markets) or whether regulations will determine who will have access to dockless sharing and who will be restricted from it as a transportation choice.
https://money.cnn.com/2018/07/19/tec...-us/index.html

What is your expectation? Will dockless bike and scooter sharing technology be a free option for everyone everywhere or will the world end up being divided into places where it is and isn't allowed by regulations?
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Old 07-19-18, 11:08 AM
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I've read plenty about the problems dockless bike shares cause, and I have not yet read about a dockless system that does not cause these problems. Maybe there are solutions, but they aren't here yet. NYC has just allowed a trial of one company, far outside the service area of Citi Bike. We will see.
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Old 07-19-18, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I've read plenty about the problems dockless bike shares cause, and I have not yet read about a dockless system that does not cause these problems. Maybe there are solutions, but they aren't here yet. NYC has just allowed a trial of one company, far outside the service area of Citi Bike. We will see.
Do you think the regulatory obstructions are really about the 'problems' or more about business territorialism? Can you even gauge that without engaging in conspiracy theory?
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Old 07-19-18, 12:03 PM
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@tandempower, what do you think I’m saying? You might be mistaken.
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Old 07-19-18, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Most of the news I see/read about dockless bike-sharing involves some focus on it as a nuisance to be regulated. Now I see this article about one company withdrawing from the US and several other national markets because of regulatory obstructions, and I wonder if dockless bike and/or scooter sharing will actually be able to establish itself everywhere (inside and outside US markets) or whether regulations will determine who will have access to dockless sharing and who will be restricted from it as a transportation choice.
https://money.cnn.com/2018/07/19/tec...-us/index.html

What is your expectation? Will dockless bike and scooter sharing technology be a free option for everyone everywhere or will the world end up being divided into places where it is and isn't allowed by regulations?
Since it has, in fact, proven itself to be a nuisance, it is appropriate that it be regulated. I don't want my yard being used as a drop off point, I don't want people riding unsafe bikes and I don't want the state to have to pay for cleanup if people abandon the bikes all over the place.

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2018/03/bike-share-oversupply-in-china-huge-piles-of-abandoned-and-broken-bicycles/556268/

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Old 07-19-18, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Since it has, in fact, proven itself to be a nuisance, it is appropriate that it be regulated. I don't want my yard being used as a drop off point, I don't want people riding unsafe bikes and I don't want the state to have to pay for cleanup if people abandon the bikes all over the place.

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/20...cycles/556268/
I'm familiar with the problems, but something doesn't add up. There have been docked bike-shared for quite a while now. Why haven't those bikes been vandalized so badly? What is it about the dock that prevents users from trashing them? It seems more like some kind of protest that people would be vandalizing these bikes, and the regulatory hurdles they are saddled with seems like it could be related. I don't want to call conspiracy, because that only generates anti-conspiracy ridicule, but something just doesn't add up.

But given all this, do you think the problems will be ironed out and everyone will have access to dockless bike sharing in a few years, or do you think it's going to boil down to docking locations having to be negotiated with property owners, codes, zoning, etc.? I can imagine that we're going to have to go through the same kind of things we've been through with all the other sharing companies, such as Uber and Airbnb, where the industries that perceive them as a threat look for every means possible to stop and/or discredit them. It amazes me how people are always talking about the free market, but yet it's so difficult for a product to simply be made available to the public and used.

So do you think the glitches will be ironed out, how long do you think it will take, and what will the end result look like, iyo?
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Old 07-19-18, 09:09 PM
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I doubt any competing interests are quashing dockless bikes here. I suspect it's just that most of North America isn't fertile ground for this type of innovation. You need a large city and it has to be quite bike-friendly and it probably also has to have a lot of tourists because many of the locals who ride in the city already have bikes and you need tourists to make up some of the users. You would need to saturate the area with thousands of bikes, all with GPS or something, so everybody would always be able to find one, and you would probably need to have some paid staff to continuously redistribute them after they all ended up in popular spots.You'd need to regularly check them for tire pressure and general maintenance and safety issues. it would be a lot more expensive than for docked bike because at least in that case, you know that a bunch of them are all going to be in one place.
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Old 07-19-18, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Since it has, in fact, proven itself to be a nuisance, it is appropriate that it be regulated. I don't want my yard being used as a drop off point, I don't want people riding unsafe bikes and I don't want the state to have to pay for cleanup if people abandon the bikes all over the place.

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2018/03/bike-share-oversupply-in-china-huge-piles-of-abandoned-and-broken-bicycles/556268/
i would imagine the docked bikes are stationed where people can see them and know where they are. The advertising for dockless is they can be dropped off “anywhere”. That is the problem in China. Anywhere can be in front of someone’s driveway or in front of a business or behind a store in the alley by the dumpster. Much like shopping carts taken from a store.
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Old 07-19-18, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
I doubt any competing interests are quashing dockless bikes here. I suspect it's just that most of North America isn't fertile ground for this type of innovation. You need a large city and it has to be quite bike-friendly and it probably also has to have a lot of tourists because many of the locals who ride in the city already have bikes and you need tourists to make up some of the users. You would need to saturate the area with thousands of bikes, all with GPS or something, so everybody would always be able to find one, and you would probably need to have some paid staff to continuously redistribute them after they all ended up in popular spots.You'd need to regularly check them for tire pressure and general maintenance and safety issues. it would be a lot more expensive than for docked bike because at least in that case, you know that a bunch of them are all going to be in one place.
I was in San Diego on business a few months back and used some of the Limebikes. I thought they were great and have already addressed many of the issues you mentioned:
1. Solid tires so no tire pressure worries
2. Plenty of bikes with GPS sprinkled around the city. I was a 30 min (by bike from downtown) and had no problem finding bikes.
3. App supports maintenance reports. One of my bikes wouldn't shift into 3rd gear.

No idea if it's a sustainable business model but I appreciated the opportunity to hop on a bike and head downtown for dinner on a bike.
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Old 07-19-18, 09:38 PM
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A town where I used to live decided to get a bunch of bicycles, paint them some hideous colour, and leave them around town with the idea that people could just grab a bike and cycle to their destination, and drop them off there.


IIRC, most of them ended up in ditches, the river, broken up in back alleys, etc. In something like 6 months, they were all gone.
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Old 07-19-18, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
I'm familiar with the problems, but something doesn't add up. There have been docked bike-shared for quite a while now. Why haven't those bikes been vandalized so badly? What is it about the dock that prevents users from trashing them?

People pay to ride docked bicycles.

People don't pay anything to ride dockless bicycles.


And you can be charged large amounts of money if you keep a docked bike too long or do damage to it.


The Melbourne Bike Share site says this:
If you fail to return your bike to a dock within 24 hours of hiring you are liable for a $500 charge.

Whereas you can hurl a dockless bike into the nearest swamp if you want and no one will find you or charge you or anything.
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Old 07-20-18, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
People pay to ride docked bicycles.

People don't pay anything to ride dockless bicycles.


And you can be charged large amounts of money if you keep a docked bike too long or do damage to it.


The Melbourne Bike Share site says this:
If you fail to return your bike to a dock within 24 hours of hiring you are liable for a $500 charge.

Whereas you can hurl a dockless bike into the nearest swamp if you want and no one will find you or charge you or anything.
Yes the free dockless bikes have a high attrition rate.

I think the idea with commercial dockless bikes is they would have some kind of automatic wheel lock you could unlock with an app, and your use would be logged and billed. Hopefully if you parked it and someone else then threw it in the river you wouldn't be blamed.

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Old 07-20-18, 07:58 AM
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With Citi Bike, they know who undocked a bike, so you have good reason to dock it quickly. If you don't return it, they charge you $1,200.

I don't know why that doesn't work with dockless bikes, honestly. Don't the credit card users leave a trace of their identities? In other words, I don't know why people are dumping dockless bikes.
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Old 07-20-18, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
People pay to ride docked bicycles.

People don't pay anything to ride dockless bicycles.


And you can be charged large amounts of money if you keep a docked bike too long or do damage to it.


The Melbourne Bike Share site says this:
If you fail to return your bike to a dock within 24 hours of hiring you are liable for a $500 charge.

Whereas you can hurl a dockless bike into the nearest swamp if you want and no one will find you or charge you or anything.
That's not what I've read. I read that you unlock the dockless bike with an app and the bikes are tracked by GPS. So I guess someone could trash the bike or throw it in a swamp if it's already been locked by the previous user, but I thought the users pay and are responsible for where they leave them as long as the company holds them accountable.

Imo, the police should do more to enforce laws against vandalism if these bikes are getting trashed. It should be possible to place some in spots with a security camera to catch the vandal, the same way security cameras are used in stores to catch shoplifters. You wouldn't have to monitor every share-bike like this, but if you placed a few security cameras here and there and people didn't know where they are and where they aren't, you could catch and prosecute the vandals and then put stickers on the bikes saying that they are monitored for security and vandalism will be prosecuted.
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Old 07-20-18, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Yes the free dockless bikes have a high attrition rate.

I think the idea with commercial dockless bikes is they would have some kind of automatic wheel lock you could unlock with an app, and your use would be logged and billed. Hopefully if you parked it and someone else then threw it in the river you wouldn't be blamed.
I wonder if they could put security cameras inside at least some of the bikes and you could recover the memory card after the bike was trashed. The video could maybe have a sleep setting where it stops after sitting still for a while, but if it senses motion when it's not checked out to a user, it would take video or stills of what's going on around the bike. If fish-eye lenses are used, you could probably get a good look at the face of the vandal.
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Old 07-20-18, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
With Citi Bike, they know who undocked a bike, so you have good reason to dock it quickly. If you don't return it, they charge you $1,200.

I don't know why that doesn't work with dockless bikes, honestly. Don't the credit card users leave a trace of their identities? In other words, I don't know why people are dumping dockless bikes.
What happened in China was that a few companies went in very aggressively to try to saturate the market and get market share early on, and they put in tens of thousands of bikes and then the companies lost track of them or went out of business and the abandoned bikes were littered everywhere and became a huge cleanup burden for the local governments. However here there isn't a big enough market for them to do that kind of overkill dumping of bikes into any city.
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Old 07-20-18, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
What happened in China was that a few companies went in very aggressively to try to saturate the market and get market share early on, and they put in tens of thousands of bikes and then the companies lost track of them or went out of business and the abandoned bikes were littered everywhere and became a huge cleanup burden for the local governments. However here there isn't a big enough market for them to do that kind of overkill dumping of bikes into any city.
Pix of those bike share graveyards makes me want to look into scrap value and container shipping quotes...
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Old 07-20-18, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
With Citi Bike, they know who undocked a bike, so you have good reason to dock it quickly. If you don't return it, they charge you $1,200.

I don't know why that doesn't work with dockless bikes, honestly. Don't the credit card users leave a trace of their identities? In other words, I don't know why people are dumping dockless bikes.
from what I have read the problem is if you can drop the bike off anywhere that is just what people do. Once they drop it off and engage any lock telling the system you are finished the bike is no longer the customer’s problem. If someone parks it by a liquor store late in the evening and no one wants to rent it the bike might sit there all night, Same thing at a city basketball court or if someone rode it home to an apartment complex after a night drinking with friends.

If the company doesn’t have people driving around to get the bikes from out of the way places they are easy targets for anyone not looking to ride one . Who could the company charge if the bike turned up missing?
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Old 07-20-18, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
IWhy haven't those bikes been vandalized so badly?
Because they're in a docking station, not some random seedy part of town. And while they're not in a docking station, they are in the care of a specific person with a credit card. If there's deliberate abuse/damage, it gets billed to that person, so they make sure it doesn't happen and that they've properly docked the bike when they're done.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 07-20-18, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
So do you think the glitches will be ironed out?
No. The business model sucks.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 07-20-18, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Yes the free dockless bikes have a high attrition rate.

I think the idea with commercial dockless bikes is they would have some kind of automatic wheel lock you could unlock with an app, and your use would be logged and billed. Hopefully if you parked it and someone else then threw it in the river you wouldn't be blamed.
That's EXACTLY what the problem with dockless is- people are not blamed (charged) when bikes end up in random places, because the bike is not locked to a fixed object. That's what the problem is.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 07-20-18, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I don't know why that doesn't work with dockless bikes, honestly. Don't the credit card users leave a trace of their identities? In other words, I don't know why people are dumping dockless bikes.
Because you can end your rental without locking the bike to a fixed point. So the bike gets left somewhere and random person picks it up (while it's still locked) and dumps in a canal or hangs it from a tree or drops it off an overpass.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 07-20-18, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Imo, the police should do more to enforce laws against vandalism if these bikes are getting trashed. It should be possible to place some in spots with a security camera to catch the vandal, the same way security cameras are used in stores to catch shoplifters. You wouldn't have to monitor every share-bike like this, but if you placed a few security cameras here and there and people didn't know where they are and where they aren't, you could catch and prosecute the vandals and then put stickers on the bikes saying that they are monitored for security and vandalism will be prosecuted.
OH HELL NO. I don't want my tax dollars used to babysit someone's crappy business model.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 07-20-18, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Because they're in a docking station, not some random seedy part of town. And while they're not in a docking station, they are in the care of a specific person with a credit card. If there's deliberate abuse/damage, it gets billed to that person, so they make sure it doesn't happen and that they've properly docked the bike when they're done.
There has to be a way to secure these bikes against vandalism. Maybe something like a car-alarm that blasts noise when they are bumped.
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Old 07-20-18, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
OH HELL NO. I don't want my tax dollars used to babysit someone's crappy business model.
It's not the fault of the business when vandals attack the bikes. It wouldn't matter whether the bikes are privately owned or share bikes, vandalism is vandalism. Car alarms are from an age before security cameras were cheap and plentiful. Nowadays it shouldn't be too difficult to place security cams in various public areas and then designate at least some of them as video-surveillance areas, while others would not be designated in order to maintain a sense of uncertainty about where such cams are placed and where not. This is actually an issue that goes far beyond share bikes, but there are plenty of property owners who should be more than happy to have security cams put on their property and it should generate some extra income for them because there are a lot more reasons than share bikes to have such cameras around, e.g. securing areas so that businesses can attract more customers, making residential areas safer, etc. If vandalism doesn't disappear on its own, surveillance in public areas is needed to police it.
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