Not too long ago, you’d be hard-pressed to drive around Dallas without spotting a bright green, yellow or orange bicycle parked at an intersection, tangled in a bush or bobbing in White Rock Lake.
That’s not the case so much anymore: Three bike-sharing companies that entered the market in the past year have decided to leave town.
As The Dallas Morning News reports, Beijing-based Mobike is the latest to say it's going. Another Chinese company, Ofo, announced its exit in July and San Francisco’s Spin followed.
That leaves Garland-based VBikes and Lime (formerly LimeBike) out of California with bikes in the city.
Mobike says it's leaving Dallas due to data it received that showed “low bikeability of the city,” the Morning News reports, but it says it might return in the future. Ofo has left markets throughout the country and laid off much of its U.S. staff. And Spin is refocusing on scooters.
These departures come after the Dallas City Council approved regulations in June that require companies to get permits and pay the city per bike or scooter. The new rules also give operators a time limit to collect bikes and scooters blocking sidewalks or being abandoned after complaints are made.
Council members also approved a six-month pilot program legalizing motorized scooters in Dallas. Lime was quick to add them to its fleet. And Bird, another California-based company, launched its dockless, electric scooters in late June.
Before this summer’s regulations, city officials were pretty hands off when it came to bike-sharing. They sent a warning to the five companies in January to clean up. At its peak, city officials estimated 20,000 bikes were scattered throughout the city. Half of them belonged to Lime.
Now, that number’s fewer than 3,500 bikes between Lime and VBikes, according to the Morning News.
Garland-based VBikes first revived bike-sharing in Dallas in June 2017. It quietly placed its gray and yellow bikes at Klyde Warren Park, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and other popular spots. And the city let things develop from there.
After VBikes, the four main companies followed: Spin and Lime last August, Ofo in November and Mobike in December.
Before last summer, bike-sharing was technically available but not widely used.
A small bike-sharing effort, funded by Friends of Fair Park and the city, launched in 2014 but proved to be limited. Bikes are available at two stations, and after use, have to be returned.