Of Bikes & Birds 

Scooters and bike-share can work together for transportation here.

An Explore Bike Share (EBS) leader said the influx of scooters to the city has presented some challenges for the bike-share program, but ultimately, he sees both shared-mobility options as avenues to further improve connectivity in the city.

Executive director of the nonprofit, Trey Moore, said he's excited about the way the city is "changing its attitude toward shared mobility" and the transportation opportunities they present for residents.

"At the end of the day, both programs working hand in hand certainly have made an impact on shared mobility in the city," Moore said. "All of Memphis is benefiting from this usage. We're starting to see habits changing, and people are discovering how to use these new modes of transportation in ways that are convenient and benefit their daily experience."

click to enlarge Explore BikeShare rolled out here about a year ago. - EXPLORE BIKE SHARE
  • Explore Bike Share
  • Explore BikeShare rolled out here about a year ago.

One thing that the introduction of scooters has challenged the nonprofit to do is "evaluate how we deliver bike-sharing," Moore said. Because the bike-share system is station-based, it is "not quite as nimble" as the dockless scooters.

To make bike-sharing more accessible and the network more dense, Moore said EBS has gone from 56 stations when it launched last May to nearly 80 stations now. Some of that increase can be attributed to new stations, but Moore said the nonprofit also reduced the number of bikes at some stations and added them to new stations in close proximity.

"It's still not going to be a bike sitting at your front door, but it's going to be a bike maybe a block away," Moore said. "We're hoping that's added some convenience that wasn't there when we first launched."

The "biggest opportunity" for EBS, Moore said, is to make bikes available in new neighborhoods. Continuing to expand EBS' footprint will keep bike-share "available and relevant to more Memphians."

EBS opened two new stations last week at Foote Park at South City, coinciding with the grand opening of the complex. Eight new stations are also slated to open in Binghamton in November when the Hampline is completed.

As EBS expands, it could have scooters of its own. Moore said the nonprofit is negotiating to be the operator of station-based, seated electric scooters here.

Additionally, Moore said EBS is working to add electric-assist bikes to its fleet in early 2020.

Electric-assist bikes will open up bike-share to a larger audience, Moore said, including "those who aren't as physically fit." Moore believes the electric bikes will also be more appealing during the Memphis summer heat.

Moore said EBS is still in the early stages of planning the launch of both the scooters and electric bikes.

"A goal for EBS is to be the shared mobility provider of choice in Memphis," Moore said. "Because of our nonprofit, mission-based identity, we think we're better positioned to deliver equitable and accessible alternatives than the for-profit ventures currently on the ground. This includes equitable distribution of product throughout all of our service areas, not just Downtown, and a focus on building relationships that change attitudes and habits, while seeking to reduce barriers to use."

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