Denver B-cycle's 5280 Free Rides program will expire the same time as its contract: January 30, 2020.
Denver B-cycle's 5280 Free Rides program will expire the same time as its contract: January 30, 2020.

Reader: Hopefully Scooters Get Canned Next

On November 21, Denver Bike Sharing announced that its relationship with B-cycle, the vendor with which the nonprofit has worked to provide for-rent bicycles in the city since April 2010, will end on January 30, 2020.

"It hurts us to know that we're going to have this gap in service," says Mike Pletsch, Denver Bike Sharing's executive director. "That's why we're very hopeful that the process for the City of Denver can move quickly." The city has been working on a permanent plan to regulate not just shared bike services, but scooters and other options on Denver's increasingly crowded streets and sidewalks.

In the meantime, readers have plenty to say about B-cycle's move. Comments Kurt:

Hopefully scooters will get canned next.

Notes Brian:

This makes no sense. They already have all the infrastructure, how much possible money could it take monthly to run the terminals and fix flat tires?

Explains Enzo:

They were way too expensive and inconvenient. Glad they’re done!

Argues Gary:

No problem.....use RTD.......oh wait.......

Says Ben:

I’ll miss seeing those randomly tipped over on street corners and sidewalks.

In September, when we spoke to Pletsch about an e-cycle pilot program, he conceded that "in the last few years, we've started to see a decline in ridership, and a lot of that was in the same time period as when folks started to have more options out there: car share, ride hailing, expanded train services from RTD."

Statistics from the 2018 Denver B-cycle annual report bear out this observation. The number of annual memberships, listed at 2,171, is just over half the 4,023 in the peak year of 2013, and total trips by all available membership types dipped 11 percent from 2017 to 2018, despite membership being approximately three times larger than during Denver B-cycle's first twelve months.

Meanwhile, Denver has seen an explosion in the use of e-scooters, and during a recent conversation with Westword, Patrick Quintana, market manager for Lyft in Colorado, made it clear that the company would love to add bicycles to its local menu. "We would definitely be interested in bringing bike share to Denver in a more robust fashion — working with the city to expand the footprint and the number of docks," he said. "We're a scooter business in Denver right now, but we'll continue to have discussions whenever they're available in the hope that at some point, we can bring our bike-share here, too."

What do you think about B-cycle leaving Denver? Let us know in a comment or at editorial@westword.com.

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