Mobike is the latest bike share company in Dallas to promise changes after public weeping and gnashing of teeth over cluttered trails and obstructed sidewalks prompted the city to adopt a more hands-on approach toward the spread of dockless bicycles.
First of all, the Beijing-based Mobike says it will cap its fleet in Dallas at 3,000 bikes until Dallas creates “guidelines,” the company says in a press release. The city has estimated there are about 20,000 free-floating bikes here. LimeBike, which has said it will not add any more bikes in Dallas, accounts for about 10,000 of those. Ofo, which by most eyeball-test measures operates one of the two biggest fleets in town, along with LimeBike, has taken a more defiant stance toward the prospect of any regulations, and has not revealed how many bikes it has here. (VBikes and Spin are the other two players in the bike share scene, with more potentially on the way.)
Along with a focus on efficiency, Mobike says it will work to educate riders on how to park its bikes. No Matrix-themed videos, but it will include the city’s parking guidelines — in short, keep them out of the way — on the bikes themselves. The Mobike app will also feature a sort of responsible snitching program, which will allow you to report bad parkers and will ding that rider’s “Mobike score,” which sounds both bad and extremely silly. (The press release includes an asterisk on that point: “Please note, sometimes people move the bikes, and the bad parking isn’t attributable to the last rider. That is why we investigate every circumstance. If we get it wrong, riders can appeal quickly and easily in app.”)
For further educational materials, Mobike says it’s consulting with the The Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind. And as a self-described “olive branch” to its competitors, Mobike says its teams will pick up any fallen rental bike, whatever its origin. It may have taken a threat from the city, but bike share in Dallas seems to be making more of an effort to regulate itself.