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Shared bikes and scooters could almost double on Memphis streets

Explore Bike Share

An Explore Bike Share station stands at an entrance to Tom Lee Park near Beale Street Landing.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s been almost a year since shared bikes and electric scooters hit the streets of Memphis, and by this summer, there may be almost double the number of these shared mobility devices.

The City of Memphis has launched an initiative to push the number of bikes and scooters from the current 1,750 devices on the streets to as many as 3,000 by June 2019. Companies are invited to apply through April 30.

The current devices in Memphis are Explore Bike Share, Bird scooters and Lime scooters. This initiative gives other companies with different styles of devices a chance to join that fleet.

Trey Moore, executive director of Explore Bike Share, said the past year has been a great success, being their first year on the roads.

Explore has 600 bikes now, and they hope to add 300 more during Memphis’ expansion period.

“We’re seeing the community really adopt ride-share in some very promising ways, and we’re eager to bring more bikes to the city so we can expand our infrastructure and provide bike access to more residents of Memphis,” Moore said.

Adding 50% more bikes means Explore could venture into areas that do not have Explore stations yet.

“We plan on moving into Binghampton this spring and summer, moving into the University of Memphis area over the fall, and we want to increase the density at our current locations,” Moore said. “The extra bikes will help us do that.”

A Bird spokesperson also said the company hopes to grow in Memphis.

“Memphis was one of the first cities to welcome Bird to its streets, proving itself to be a leader in transportation innovation and smart mobility solutions,” the Bird spokesperson said. “It is our sincere hope to continue serving the people of Memphis with our environmentally friendly option, and we will continue to work closely with our city partners to help make that happen.”

The companies aren’t the only groups hoping for a successful expansion. The City of Memphis receives fees from each device on the roads.

Companies that are for-profit, like Bird and Lime, pay the city a $365 fee per electric device per year. Non-profit companies, like Explore, pay Memphis a $1 fee per non-electric device per year.

The city also collects a $50 performance bond, with a $20,000 cap, per device from each type of company that is supposed to go towards infrastructure improvements to help these devices navigate the city roads and sidewalks easier.

The city’s Bikeway and Pedestrian Program Manager, Nicholas Oyler, said in a blog post that the city hopes to have three to five total companies after this expansion period.

Applications for new shared mobility devices are due April 30 by 4 p.m.

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