Bike sharing company Mobike plans to launch in the city Friday evening after the city attorney’s office recently clarified that San Diego could welcome more than one short-term bike rental company to its streets.
Mobike’s launch comes after two other companies, LimeBike and Ofo, made their San Diego debut last week.
City Attorney Mara Elliott paved the way for the firms to do business in San Diego after her office last month opined that an exclusivity agreement between the city and another bike company, DecoBike, did not bar the city from allowing other bike companies. However, the city’s relationship with these companies could not go beyond issuing necessary permits.
Mobike, LimeBike and Ofo are different from DecoBike in that they don’t have to be parked in a special dock when a rider is finished. Rather, the rider uses an app to find a bike nearby and unlock it. A traditional Ofo bike costs $0.50 per half hour, while a LimeBike with electronic assistance costs $1 to unlock and $1 for every 10 minutes of ride time. When users are done, they can park the bikes wherever convenient and legal.
DecoBike, now branded as Discover Bike, launched a partnership with the city in 2015. Users must pick up and drop off bikes at specific docking stations throughout the city. Charges start at $5 for 30 minutes or $7 for one hour.
Councilman David Alvarez, who rides his bike to and from work, said the introduction of multiple bike share options “is a game changer” because biking as a mode of transportation is now more viable for more residents.
“That’s not an option that’s as readily available to people as it should be,” Alvarez said. “That’s about to change.”
More bikes on the street means fewer cars, which is a boon for residents, the environment and the City’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for an increase in bicycling as transportation, Alvarez said.
—City News Service
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