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Phoenix-area cities running into problems with bike share programs


PHOENIX — The Phoenix-area has seen an influx of bike share companies in recent years, leading to increasing popularity and usage, but officials have identified some growing pains with the fledgling businesses.

Paul Basha, the transportation director for the City of Scottsdale, said there were more than 55,000 rides in the first two months that LimeBike and OFO, the two bike share companies that serve Scottsdale, were implemented.

That number is more than double the amount of Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa. However, it has not been smooth sailing — literally.

For those who are not familiar, bike share companies allow people to rent a bike for a certain hourly fee.

Some companies have specific docking stations where the bikes must be picked up from and returned to, but others allow riders to dock their bikes virtually anywhere.

While the latter sounds awfully convenient, it has also become an awfully big pain for residents. Basha said there has been multiple complaints of bikes being strewn across town, left at bus stops, street corners and sidewalks.

Related: Bike-sharing service to soon be offered on ASU’s Tempe campus

It’s an unexpected consequence of the wildly popular program, but Basha is encouraging residents and businesses to be patient. He said the two companies have a good record of tracking errant bikes and placing them near the docking stations, where they can be rented again.

If residents see a bicycle that they believe should not be there, Basha said they should call the specific bike share company.

But Scottsdale is not the only Phoenix-area city with this problem: Sue Taaffe with the City of Tempe said since the dockless system was introduced in Tempe in December, transportation officials have recieved about a dozen complaints.

In order to address this problem, Taaffe said the department is looking into the legalities of these companies and working with other cities — including Mesa, Scottsdale and Phoenix — to come up with a regional system that would address the technology.

KTAR News’ Tom Perumean contributed to this report. 

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