Bike-sharing services rapidly growing in San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Bike-sharing services rapidly growing in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – San Diegans are starting to see a lot more bikes and scooters out and about in their neighborhoods as mobile-based rental services take off with locals and tourists alike.

For the past few years, Discover Bikes – which were originally branded as Deco Bikes – have had an exclusive agreement with the City of San Diego.

Now, this way of getting around town has some serious competition as four other companies have recently been permitted to do business in San Diego, as the move toward pedal power grains traction.

Only a few taps on a computer screen allows Mike Digilio, who is visiting from Delaware, to rent a bike for the first time.

He is one of a growing number of users of bicycles and scooters now available for rent through San Diego – especially downtown and the beach communities.

In Pacific Beach, tourists from Canada rented an electric bike and two scooters. They had powered their way from downtown.

The user-friendly bike rentals were introduced to San Diego in 2015 – with Deco Bikes.

The system allows users to rent from designated docking stations and later return the bicycles to any other docking station in the city.

It’s a business model that now has competition after the city attorney agreed to allow other rental companies to apply for permits.

LimeBike, ofo - Smart Bike Sharing, Mobike and Bird (which rents scooters) are providing more sharing options for San Diegans and visitors.

The recent additions are different, however, because they do not have to be parked in a special dock. Instead, rentals are unlocked using a smartphone app, but some have complained that rentals are sometimes carelessly deposited in the middle of sidewalks once users are done.

The city’s contract with Discover Bikes lasts through 2023.

The city attorney’s recent decision only allows the city to issue the necessary permits for the other rental companies – maintaining its exclusivity agreement with Discover Bike.

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