National Bike Month: St. Louis Welcomes Affordable Bike Share Service, LimeBike
Last month, St. Louis welcomed California-based company LimeBike to the city. Bright green with yellow detailing and a basket affixed to the front, LimeBikes have become hard to miss around the metropolitan area.
LimeBike launched in June 2017 and is now available in 13 U.S. states, Washington D.C. and three European cities. Unlike public bike-rental companies located in places such as New York City, Chicago and Washington D.C., LimeBike’s most-compelling feature is being dockless, allowing bikes to be proliferated across cities instead of only being available in certain areas and to a certain demographic of residents. So far the bikes have been spotted in East St. Louis, North County, Downtown and everywhere in between, ensuring that all residents have the opportunity to take advantage of the new wave of affordable public transportation.
Accessibility is at the core of LimeBike, providing various opportunities for city residents of all backgrounds to participate in the program. Rides are $1 per half-hour. Those with smartphones can download the LimeBike app, input their debit or credit card information and use the GPS locator to find a nearby bike. Those without a smartphone can email LimeBike and will be given a phone number that they can call whenever they locate a bike and want to use it. They will then give the bike number over the phone, and the ride will be charged to their account. For those without a bank account, residents can visit one of LimeBike’s “Pay Near Me” locations – 7-Eleven, CVS and Family Dollar, among others – and put money into their LimeBike account. In addition, LimeBike gives students a 50-cent discount and provides 100 rides for $5 to qualifying residents who participate in any state- or federally run assistance program.
Despite the bikes appearing to be a sudden addition to the city, bike sharing has been a topic of conversation in St. Louis since 2014, culminating with a bike share study commissioned by Great River Greenways. Working with Alta Planning + Design, Great River Greenways created the Bike Share Feasibility Plan to create an equity map of neighborhoods in St. Louis that needed an initiative such as LimeBike the most. The study was based on four variables drawn from U.S. Census data including: (1) the percentage of the population representing people of color, (2) percentage of households below 200 percent of the poverty level, (3) percentage of households with no automobile available for daily use and (4) percentage of households where the adults are non-English speakers. Eight target neighborhoods were confirmed to be the best fit for the bike share: Wells/Goodfellow/Kingshighway West, The Ville/Greater Ville, JeffVanderLou/Grand Center and five others.
Soon, LimeBike competitor and China-based company Ofo will also be available, expanding transportation options to even more residents. With temperatures continuing to rise and May marking National Bike Month, it is as good a time as any to find the nearest LimeBike and get on the go.
Photos courtesy of LimeBike.