Ready to Share? Scooter and Bike Share expanding in the East Bay.
July 9, 2019
Bike share has been adapting, and it’s been a year since scooter-share first came on the scene, so what’s next? Richmond, Fremont, Oakland, Berkeley, and Walnut Creek are all in the process of working out exactly that. Read on to learn what’s happening for bike and scooter share in your neighborhood.
Oakland and Berkeley are both in the process of permitting scooter operators. The permitting process allows cities to set the tone for how scooter companies operate. Educating riders on correct usage, equitable distribution, and accessibility are just some of the pieces ironed out in the permitting process. Oakland has permitted four scooter companies which will deploy 3,500 scooters total this summer. Berkeley has permitted three companies, allowing 600 scooters total.
To date, scooter usage in Oakland averages 3,000-7,000 trips per day (Lime and Bird combined), peaking at 3 trips per scooter per day. While most Oakland trips take place in Downtown, West Oakland, and North Oakland, scooters can be found across the flatlands of Oakland. From recent scooter user surveys in Oakland, 25% of scooter riders surveyed said they would have used Uber/Lyft, 42% would have walked, 14% would have driven, 8% would have used a bike.
Like every new transportation option, welcoming scooters into the East Bay comes with challenges. Bike East Bay’s core values champion equity, safety, and sustainability. We encourage new options in non-car based transportation that are accessible for everyone, especially youth, communities of color, and residents with low-income in the East Bay. As scooters move into the bike lane, we are at the table, continuing to advocate for wider, more plentiful, and safer people-centered lanes, making space for everyone who wants to ride outside.
New faces in bike share are coming to the East Bay. Docked or dockless, electric or manual pedal-powered, bike share continues to expand and more bike share companies are arriving soon.
In Fremont, Hopr bike share arrives this summer with an initial launch of 250 dockless standard pedal and e-bikes. The City of Fremont will implement dedicated bike share parking areas on sidewalks, on-street parking spaces, and municipal off-street parking lots as part of the initial launch for Hopr’s dockless system.
Walnut Creek is currently in the process of reevaluating bike share and scooter policies, and expects to have a new plan later this year.
In Richmond, Gotcha bike share will deploy 250 e-bikes, all dock-based. Gotcha won the Richmond contract with a focus on hiring locally. In fact, their new Bay Area office will initially be located in Richmond and are currently hiring (#BikeJobs!). More details coming soon on when and where in Richmond you can expect to see bike share bikes.
Bike share in Oakland, Berkeley, and Emeryville is changing from blue Ford GoBikes to black Bay Wheels, operated by Lyft. Some will be manual pedal-powered bikes and some will be e-bikes. The e-bikes have hybrid locking functionality, meaning riders can dock at normal stations, or use the cable lock to lock to any bike rack within the service area. The additional locking option expands the service area by eight square miles and allows Bay Wheels to serve East Oakland. So far, GoBikes has suffered from limited deployment in most areas of the East Bay. This limits access for many communities, including low-income neighborhoods where additional travel options are needed most.
Two important issues that all mobility operators are required to address is the geographic distribution of devices and availability of low-income memberships. To date, all operators either have low-income programs or will have them upon deployment. Bay Wheels and Gotcha bike share are still developing their deployment plans in this regard, and we expect an update soon.
Bike East Bay has spent more than 40 years working for better bike lanes, sidewalks, and traffic-calming measures, and will continue to adapt to new forms of transit technology to make sure there are better, safer ways to get around for everyone. Each city in the East Bay has their own standards and regulations for how bike and scooter share roll out, which complicates and delays new travel options. Bike East Bay is one of the few organizations at the table across the East Bay working to remove hurdles.
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