California startups LimeBike and Spin plan to deploy about 2,000 dockless bikes in 15 Boston-area municipalities by this summer under a plan that the Metropolitan Area Planning Council announced in early April. Here are the details, which are still evolving:
- The 15 towns and cities are: Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Milton, Melrose, Newtown, Needham, Revere, Waltham, Watertown, and Winthrop. (LimeBike already operates in Malden.)
- Dockless bikes operate through apps that lock and unlock the bike for usage—as opposed to systems such as the existing Hubway—soon to be Blue Bikes—that have users rent and return via docks.
- Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline are not included because an exclusive agreement with Hubway prohibits use of another bike-share system.
- Rides will start at $1 for the first 30 minutes.
- Rides are confined to the 15 towns and cities where LimeBike and Spin will officially operate. This is in theory, though, as dockless-bike users have been known to leave the vehicles off-grid, so to speak.
- Some of the bikes will be pedal-assist electric—or e-bikes—to give a little kick during windy weather, uphill climbs, etc.
- LimeBike and Spin are offering their services free of charge to the 15 municipalities.
It’s not clear if the dockless concept will take in the Boston region, but this introduction follows apparently successful pilots in communities such as Waltham, Malden, Chelsea, and Revere. Stay tuned.