To Dock or Not to Dock?

When bike share programs started only a few years ago, they were envisioned as a series of docking stations for multiple bikes where one could check out and return a bike. Most were structured as municipal/sponsor/operator partnerships. A new business model is now emerging and with it, of course, controversy. Dockless bike share programs promise lower usage costs and potentially more equitable distribution of bike availability. That’s the good news. The downside is bikes locked or left all over the place becoming (a) a walking, biking or motoring hazard and/or (b) an unsightly mess.

Sooner or later Evanston will have to weigh in. The topic of dockless bike share has already been raised at Northwestern; Chicago has just started a pilot dockless program on the South Side in areas underserved by Divvy, and the cost of Divvy is being challenged in the Evanston 2019 budget process. Happily, CityLab has put together a short history of bike sharing programs and a summary of the issues and opportunities that cities like Evanston will be facing. Bike share homework time.

Posted by Barbara Miller