Dockless bike and scooter companies interested in coming to Tampa

Posted at 8:03 PM, Sep 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-19 20:11:56-04

TAMPA — Dockless bike and scooter companies are popping up in cities across the country and could one day be in Tampa. 

Jean Duncan, Director of Transportation and Stormwater Services, said the city is working to come up with recommendations after fielding interest from a number of companies. In general, an app allows riders to unlock a bike or scooter and then leave it at their destination instead of at a dock. 

Some cities, like San Diego, have had issues with the concept. Some bikes and scooters have been found vandalized. Others have been left haphazardly in public spaces.

In other places, companies have pulled out after less than a year of business.

“We definitely want to approach more thoughtfully and launch a program learning from their experiences,” said Duncan. 

Duncan tells ABC Action News the city is looking at limiting the area where the bikes and scooters are allowed at first, cutting down on the hours of operation and reigning in the number of bikes or scooters a company could bring in. 

“All of these things would allow us to sort of ease into this new mode and not have some of the headaches that other cities have experienced,” she said. 

Eric Trull with Coast Bike Share has been keeping an eye on the trend.

“Some companies that have popped up across the country have let bikes loose and created anarchy on the streets,” he said. 

He says Coast Bike Share is working to become more flexible for riders at the end of their trip. 

“We’re actually gonna shift our technology a little bit to align with that model, but we’re still gonna keep our hub-based system so you know exactly where the bikes are located,” he said. 

Trull is quick to point out that riders can already lock up to a public bike rack for a small fee. 

Duncan says Tampa residents could see dockless bikes and scooters in less a year. More modes of transportation could come next. 

“There’s a lot of varieties of these things out there so we’re trying to capture a good way to allow them in a safe way,” she said.