Photo | Lagniappe
Bike sharing service LimeBike will launch in Mobile beginning Aug. 15. Fees are $1 for every half-hour and users can unlock the bikes with a smartphone app.
LimeBike is bringing its app-based, dockless bike sharing system to Mobile starting Wednesday, Aug. 15.
The California company announced in March its intention to develop a market in the Port City and now its green pedal bicycles have arrived, just in time for move-in day at the University of South Alabama (USA).
The plan is to provide bikes near the USA campus for students as well as in other areas of the city for any residents or visitors who would like to use them. Mayor Sandy Stimpson sees the bikes as having a positive impact, both at the campus and downtown.
“I think every thriving city should offer bicycles for transportation,” Stimpson said this week. “It helps us adapt to more mobility.”
The new alternate form of transportation comes at no cost to the city. LimeBike is currently in 45 other cities.
LimeBike is unusual compared to other bike sharing services in that it’s dockless, according to Todd O’Boyle, LimeBike’s director of strategic development. The service is completely app-based. Anyone who would like to use a LimeBike can simply pull up the app on a smartphone and scan the code on the back wheel base to unlock it. From there, rides are $1 for every 30 minutes or 50 cents for USA students.
Because there’s no docking station, the bikes can go wherever a rider wants and there’s no need to find a specific place to park them.
The bikes could serve as another form of transportation for residents looking to get to work. Stimpson’s office suggested it could help fill some gaps left by the city’s WAVE bus service.
In 2016, the Mobile City Council approved a recommendation from WAVE transit to cut most of the bus routes outside the city limits. The city was paying the lion’s share of the cost to run the buses, with federal money also being put forth. WAVE routes now terminate at a federally funded transportation plaza in Prichard and no longer serve Chickasaw, Eight Mile or Tillman’s Corner.
The city recently switched its bus management company from McDonald Transit to Ohio-based First Transit. The council approved the $396,215 three-year contract, which allows First Transit to take over the management of WAVE. The contract was the least expensive of three options, and officials were excited about reports the service would be more efficient than its predecessor, McDonald Transit.