Proponents of St. Louis’ new bike share ventures fear that the bicycles are already being thrown into the Mississippi River. Just one week into the launch of the program, locator markers show the brightly colored bikes possibly submerged at the bottom of the river. Two competing bike share companies, LimeBike and Ofo, are entering competitive St. Louis market this week and next after successful launches in other cities. Between the two competing companies, they are adding 1,500 public bikes to the city’s landscape. Customers are free to “unlock” a bike using a smartphone app and then deposit it in any public space when they are done. The system is monitored through GPS trackers and is designed to encourage residents to use more bikes as a primary mode of transportation in an effort to alleviate traffic congestion and promote more physical activity. Many cities have been using the program with much success for over one year.
LimeBike said that their team did not find any of their lime green bikes in the river. They believe that erroneous sensing can throw off the markers and lead to confusion about the actual location of the bikes. Despite citizen concerns about bikes being stripped of valuable parts or stolen, LimeLight reports that less than 1 percent of the bikes in the company’s arsenal has been lost or vandalized. Specially designed alarms alert LimeLight officials when bikes have been moved without preauthorization or when bikes are parked illegally according to city regulations.
For those wanting to try the program, LimeBike is currently charging $1 for 30-minute increments. With a launch date of next week, competing company Ofo will charge $1 for each hour of usage.