Baltimore City Ends Baltimore Bike Share, Announces Expansion of Bird and Lime Scooters and Bikes

| August 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

Baltimore City has ended Baltimore Bike Share after less than two years. The program was a partnership between Baltimore City Department of Transportation (DOT) and Québec’s Bewegen Technologies, and was maintained by Baltimore company Corps Logistic. Baltimore Bike Share was plagued by theft and an abundance of bikes in need of repair.

DOT said the following in a press release: “DOT and Bewegen Technologies, Inc. fully understand the unique situation and challenges Baltimore Bike Share has encountered since its launch in 2016. Moreover, the current bike share program is not able to meet the growing demand for rental bikes. Consequently, the Department of Transportation has ended its contract with the program vendor, Bewegen and will cease operations today, August 15, 2018. Bewegen will remove the existing bike share inventory by Friday August 17, 2018. Citizens who have purchased Baltimore Bike Share memberships should contact the Department of Transportation at (410) 396-6802 by September 30, 2018 for refund information.”

The South Baltimore Peninsula had five Baltimore Bike Share docking stations, four of which replaced on-street parking spaces. Those stations will be removed.

Other stations in South Baltimore include Camden Yards, Baltimore Visitor Center at the Inner Harbor, University of Maryland BioPark, and Hollins Market.

DOT spent $2.36 million on Baltimore Bike Share.

While Baltimore Bike Share is ending, DOT has formed a partnership with dockless scooter and bike share companies Bird and Lime on a pilot program. Bird offers electric scooters that are rented through your smart phone. This summer, 60 Bird scooters arrived in Baltimore and have been a constant presence around Baltimore. Lime will offer both bikes and scooters.

The pilot program has issued a permit to allow Bird and Lime to place 1,000 bicycles or scooters on the streets for six months. This comes at no cost to Baltimore City.

During this pilot period, DOT will “assess and evaluate the effectiveness of a dockless program which will serve to inform the development of appropriate regulations.”

The contract with Bird and Lime also requires the companies to offer discounts to low-income customers and to place scooters and bicycles in low-income neighborhoods where 40% of households earn less than $25,000. The neighborhoods include Poppleton/The Terraces/Hollins Market, Oldtown/Middle East, Cherry Hill, Greenmount East, Southwest Baltimore, Southern Park Heights, Madison/East End, Sandtown-Winchester/Harlem Park, Pimlico/Arlington/Hilltop, Penn North/Reservoir Hill, Clifton-Berea, Brooklyn/Curtis Bay/Hawkins Point, Greater Charles Village/Barclay, and Washington Village/Pigtown.

Baltimore bike advocacy group Bikemore praised this decision to include low income neighborhoods and welcomed the growth of Bird and Lime.

“Responding to the needs of those in our city who desire efficient, accessible and low-cost modes of transportation is the basis of these new partnerships,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh in a press release. “We’re confident that these new dockless options will actually expand transportation access for residents and visitors across our city. In the meantime, we’ll continue to assess the demand for these and other innovative options as a 21st century city determined to serve the varied transportation needs of all who live, work, study and visit here.”

“We are confident that this new partnership with Lime and Bird will enhance transportation options to a great many more citizens across our city,” said Director Michelle Pourciau in a press release.  “The Department of Transportation will be evaluating the effectiveness of dockless technology in order to provide the citizens of Baltimore with a dockless program that enables bike and scooter share systems to operate without physical stations.  Our ultimate goal is to give the citizens of Baltimore the ability to access a robust dockless program that works for everyone.”

“The city’s approach to alternative transportation such as bikeshare continues to evolve,” said Jon Laria, chair of the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Commission, in a press release. “Today’s announcement is a positive step towards enhanced mobility for all Baltimoreans, and the Mayor and Director should be commended for responding to the changing market by welcoming dockless operations while providing fair and reasonable regulations.”

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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