With Four Companies and Abandoned Bikes, Dallas’ Bike-Sharing System Needs Improvement

Three months ago, Dallas didn’t have much of a bike-sharing culture. Now, the city has four companies vying for the bike-sharing market: Ofo, Lime Bike, Spin, and Vbikes. With Ofo’s 1,000 yellow bikes, Lime Bike’s expected expansion to 5,000 green and yellow ones, Spin’s orange bikes, and V-Bike’s silver with yellow wheels, Dallas is set to become one colorful city. City Councilman Philip Kingston commented, “We were the only ones without bike share. Suddenly we are the hottest competitive market for dock-less bike share.”

Bike-sharing has increased in popularity throughout the United States because of its benefits as an alternative to congested traffic and conventional commuting. Cycling is a clean, green form of transportation, reducing car use and traffic as well as relieving pressure on overcrowded public transit systems. Cyclists also gain substantial health benefits from the daily exercise. The United States has seen the growth of 55 bike-sharing companies over the past decade. In a span of five years, bike-share trips have increased from 2.3 million to 28 million throughout the country.

Whereas bike-sharing in Fort Worth and other cities require bikes to be stored at stationary racks in specific locations, Dallas’ four companies adopted a dock-less technique, meaning users can leave the bikes virtually anywhere. All four of Dallas’ bike-sharing companies operate using a smartphone app where users can activate a bike, pay for hourly use, and then leave the bike at any location for the next user. This dock-less system is beneficial in some ways since is more convenient and public subsidies aren’t needed to sustain racks and infrastructure. Yet, because it depends on users to properly maintain and store the bikes, there is less regulation. Vann Vaughan, a regular bike-sharing rider, said, “Just as long as it’s out of the way, that’s probably the most important thing to me. When it’s in the middle of a walkway, that’s where it becomes a nuisance.”

However, the bikes have consistently been found ill-maintained and scattered throughout the city.  Despite the benefits of the dock-less system, Zac Crain, senior editor of D Magazine, argued that there needs to be more improvement for Dallas’ bike-sharing culture. He wrote, “The streets are littered with bikes from VBike and Spin and Lime Bike, not parked so much as abandoned in the middle of a sidewalk, at least half of the time tipped over. It’s not just in downtown. Bikes are abandoned on the Katy Trail, randomly in neighborhoods, dumped anywhere and everywhere. In the Trinity. In White Rock Lake.”

Evidently, a solution is needed to this problem. Perhaps the answer lies in technology. Are you experimenting and developing an app that could improve the efficiency of bike-sharing systems in Dallas and keep the city cleaner and greener? You could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and can receive up to 14% back on your expenses.  To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or try our free online eligibility test.

Swanson Reed regularly hosts free webinars and provides free IRS CE credits as well as CPE credits for CPA’s.  For more information please visit us at www.swansonreed.com/webinars or contact your usual Swanson Reed representative.

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