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Charlotte Talks: Are Dockless Bikes And Scooters A Fad, Or A New Era For Transportation?

David Boraks

Monday, July 30, 2018

Dockless bicycles and scooters are everywhere. They're as popular as they are seemingly unregulated. Is free-range biking and scooter-sharing part of the future of transportation?

Spend any time in downtown Charlotte and you're bound to see a bike or scooter zipping by, specifically one that's dockless. Unlike traditional bike-sharing, which has been in Charlotte since 2012, riders can leave these wheels wherever their travel takes them - not at a specific docking station that might be out of the way.

In June alone, more than 33,000 trips were taken on dockless bikes, while scooters racked up more than 98,000 miles of travel.

The number of dockless bike companies in Charlotte shrank from four to three on Friday with Ofo's announcement it was pulling out of the market as part of a larger retreat from many U.S. cities

As popular as they are, there have been complaints, particularly on social media, that the bikes have created clutter.

Behind the novelty of this is a multi-billion dollar industry that's quickly becoming a new front in a turf war. Ride-hailing rivals Uber and Lyft have each bought up or invested heavily in bike-sharing companies.

Mike Collins examines what's driving the massive growth of the industry, and what it means for the future of getting around.


Kate Cavazza, bike program manager, Sustain Charlotte

Brianne Eby, policy analyst, Eno Center for Transportation (@brianne_eby)

Cory Weinberg, reporter, The Information (@coryweinberg)

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