Several dockless bikeshare companies have announced plans to launch in D.C. -- meaning residents can lock up certain rented bikes anywhere, without a docking station.
Mobike announced that you can rent their bikes beginning Wednesday, Sept. 20. They will have bikes placed in "key downtown locations," according to a press release.
LimeBike is also prepared to launch Wednesday, pending approval from proper officials, a representative told News4.
One other company, Spin announced plans to bring their dockless bikeshare services to DC sometime after Sept. 20, when the official testing period for the bikes begins.
Dockless bikes can be unlocked using a smartphone app. Riders can just open the app, scan a code and hop on the bike. When you are finished, most systems require you just lock the back wheel and walk away.
The new bikes are expected to be widespread.
"We're going to be in all parts of the city. We expect to serve neighborhoods and downtown, all eight wards," Maggie Gendron, who works with LimeBike, said.
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Teams from each company will track the bikes and redistribute them to ensure easy access -- and that bikes are not parked in inappropriate places.
LimeBike and Spin advertise rates of $1 for a 30-minute ride, and both companies say they offer monthly subscriptions. LimeBike gives students a 50 percent discount. Mobike advertises that it allows you to make a 15 minute reservation for free.
The dockless bike rentals will begin as a six-month pilot program by the D.C. Department of Transportation. If residents have thoughts on parking rules, the number of bikes allowed or other policies for the program, they can reach DDOT through email: email@example.com. The deadline to submit your thoughts is Friday, Sept. 15, but officials say there will be more chances to comment.
DDOT will finalize the rules and regulations after the pilot period.
The new program will coexist with the District's popular Capital Bikeshare program, which requires riders to return bikes to specific docking stations throughout the city.