Kiosk-Free Bike Share Program Set Its Sights On San Francisco

Kiosk-Free Bike Share Program Set Its Sights On San Francisco
Fitness & Sport

SF startup Spin is looking to introduce a new program where rental information is stored inside the bike through Bluetooth and GPS rather than at a station

Jennifer Passas
  • 31 january 2017

Bike shares have risen in popularity in recent years, shifting from a European phenomenon to a common mode of transportation in about 40 US cities. A US-based startup called Spin is hoping to evolve the bike share experience with kiosk-free stations. An idea that originated in China where traffic problems are severe, Spin is hoping to bring the concept to the US to make it even more convenient to hop on and off a bike to get to your destination.

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The startup plans to deploy over 100,000 bikes in 2017 starting in San Francisco where the company is located. The bikes are trackable via Bluetooth low energy, a 2G wireless system and GPS with integrated locks which allows the bikes to be parked securely anywhere within a designated service area. Biker can unlock a bike by scanning a QR code that will be printed on the bike’s license plates. Once the bike is unlocked a meter starts running for payment which will most likely be $1 for every 30 minutes.

The bikes themselves will be 6-speed, bright orange in color with 26″ wheels, and a step through frame. Additional features include a basket, Dynamo hub powered lights that don’t need a battery, theft-resistant screws and solid foam tires. Foam tires, which don’t score high marks in performance, were chosen to keep Spin’s maintenance costs low. Since foam tires don’t deflate Spin workers won’t need to do air pressure checks throughout the city on their bikes.

While the kiosk-free bike might provide more convenience for riders there have been a number of problems with the concept that China has already experienced. Bikes have been parked in fire lanes and other off-limits areas and are sometimes just dumped together creating giant piles. These issues have resulted in pedestrians having to navigate around the bikes as well as giant eyesores in the city.

San Francisco city officials have expressed concerns over safety for pedestrian and transportation issues that the kiosk-free program raises. Spin has responded with hiring a government relations representative with close ties to the San Fransisco Mayor’s office to ensure a smooth brand launch.

Spin

Bike shares have risen in popularity in recent years, shifting from a European phenomenon to a common mode of transportation in about 40 US cities. A US-based startup called Spin is hoping to evolve the bike share experience with kiosk-free stations. An idea that originated in China where traffic problems are severe, Spin is hoping to bring the concept to the US to make it even more convenient to hop on and off a bike to get to your destination.

+bike share
+fitness
+QR code
+San Francisco
+Sports
+startup
+travel

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