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DOT Picks Five Companies to Run Dockless Bike-Share Pilots

Image: NYC DOT

Five bike-share companies -- Motivate, JUMP, Pace, Lime, and ofo -- will participate in DOT's dockless bike-share pilot, set to launch in the Rockaways later this month. The city narrowed down the field from 12 applicants.

During these test runs, DOT will be evaluating "the safety, availability and durability of the bikes" and how well each company complies with "requirements around data accessibility and user privacy," with an eye toward future expansion.

The pilot areas will be limited in size and scope, though not quite as much as expected. An announcement in May said each zone would be capped at 200 bikes, but today the city said 200 bikes will be the minimum and 300 to 400 will be the max.

First up, in "mid July," come the Rockaways, where Pace and Lime will drop their bikes. Then in "mid-to-late July," ofo and JUMP (owned by Uber) will put out bikes in the Bronx around Fordham University. JUMP and Lime will roll out bikes on Staten Island's North Shore at around the same time. Motivate's dockless bikes will appear in Coney Island sometime "later this year," DOT said, and a second company might also get a permit to operate there.

Starting July 28, JUMP and Lime will be allowed to include pedal-assist electric bikes in their fleets.

The dockless bike-share pilots are a prelude to bigger decisions about how to expand bike-share in NYC, where Citi Bike has established itself as a reliable and intensely-used service but is limited to the central areas of the city. Following yesterday's announcement that Lyft is acquiring Citi Bike operator Motivate, it seems like some sort of expanded Citi Bike with a hybrid of dockless and station-based bikes is in the cards. Where other bike-share companies fit into the plan -- which has to account for Motivate's exclusivity arrangement with the city -- remains to be seen.

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