Another Bike Sharing Company Coming; Now from US
FRANKFURT, Germany – After the invasion of European cities by various Fareast bicycle sharing systems, now another player from a completely different part of the world is announcing itself. LimeBike, the self-acclaimed “fastest growing US bicycle sharing company”, enters Europe. Earlier this month this dockless bike rental system debuted in Frankfurt, Germany as well as in Zurich, Switzerland. More cities are to follow.
LimeBike is financially backed by the leading Silicon Valley venture capital companies Andreessen Horowitz, DCM Ventures und GGV Capital and has its headquarters in San Mateo,California.
With a limited fleet of 480 bikes per city the 2017 founded start-up is now entering Europe. First “pilot stages” are Frankfurt and Zurich. Until spring 2018 it’s LimeBike’s goal to ”study the needs of the market, the daily consumption and identify the most favorite routes“. To reach this goal the Californian newcomer relies on local staff in each market “taking care of customer happiness, maintenance and taking care on reallocations“.
Before next summer start the US newcomer plans to expand into more German and Swiss cities as well as to other European countries.
‘In consultation and agreement with cities’
LimeBike is different to for instance Obike – the Singaporean sharing operator – that started in Munich, Germany just by putting a flood of bikes on the city streets and with that caused a lot of problems and critics (Bike Europe reported). LimeBike’s bicycles have been placed in consultation and agreement with city and community representatives at determined areas, is noted in a company press release. Such ‘early focus’ areas are inner downtown, train stations, museums, universities and educational institutions.
Moreover LimeBike notes in its press release: “Anonymized road use data gives detailed information about favorite areas but especially about the real need of bicycles. We use these data to deliver bicycles to these areas right in time – or take them away from those areas where demand isn’t strong. We are also willing to hand this information cost-free to city administrations so they can integrate them into their urban planning.“
Creating added value
Next to closer communication with governments and city administrations the US newcomer is also pointing on “cooperations with local companies and shops as well as educational institutions. That’s how private or commercially used areas can rely on better utilization and networking – and therefore create added value to local companies“.
The LimeBike app includes references in what areas the rented bikes could be parked best. Those ones parking the bike in an area it shouldn’t be parked receive a so-called push-message with the request to choose a better parking location. If bicycles are parked in areas they shouldn’t be the app informs about it. “Then the regional LimeBike teams are coming out to switch these bikes to other locations they are allowed to park”, is noted by LimeBike. And: Those reporting about a parking offender receive a bonus for one cost-free ride.