I recently spent a week in Seattle, where they have three (3!) dockless bike-share providers (green, yellow, orange). I signed up for a couple of them, but actually nothing I needed to do required anything more than walking. So I didn’t get to use the system(s); ah well.
Anyway, I really like the idea of bikes showing up all over the place. It felt like you didn’t need to deal with the whole finding a docking station thing. The bikes were more or less there, on every block. I think part of what made it work is that the bikes themselves looked cheaper that what we have in Pgh: you can likely field more bikes for the same investment. More bikes, more customers.
Admittedly I spent all my time downtown. Maybe the economics are different for wider service areas.
It’s unclear though whether this is the same type of e-scooter that’s coming to pittsburgh. two diferences — 1) Max speed of 15 mph for the one that guy tried in CA. 2) No helmets (Pgh ones will have helmets in them) and 3) He rode them in bike lanes. Pgh ones seem road (Class C) only.
Ofo, Pioneer of China’s Bike-Sharing Boom, Is in a Crisis
“Now, one of China’s leading bike start-ups, Ofo, is facing serious financial problems. Its founder is on a government blacklist for unpaid bills. Millions of riders who placed deposits are demanding their money back. And the business model used by many of China’s tech firms — spend furiously to acquire new users, worry about profits later — is showing its limits. … State media hailed bike-sharing as one of China’s “new four great inventions,” putting it and high-speed rail, e-commerce and smartphone payments on the same plane as paper, movable type, the compass and gunpowder. But it did not take long for the fever to become madness. … The company withdrew from several overseas markets, including the United States, this year just months after entering them.”