A new dockless bike share pilot program is planned for Fordham. While most Bronxites were enthusiastic about the plan, others expressed some concerns.
On Tuesday, July 3, the NYC Department of Transportation shared the details of its Five Borough Bike Share pilot program.
In the announcement, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Community Board 7 district manager Ischia Bravo, shared their optimism for the project.
“My constituents have long called for the expansion of bike sharing programs into the Bronx,” said the borough president in a statement, explaining his office would listen to the community’s reviews as the bikes are implemented.
“We think dockless bikes will be a great addition to our transportation needs here in the Bronx,” stated CB 7’s Ischia Bravo .
During the planning phase for the project, DOT presented the bike-share pilot’s plans with CB 7, who helped them map out the geographical region of the program, according to DOT.
The 200 regular and pedal-assist dockless bikes coming to Fordham will encompass the area between the New York Botanical Garden and Bronx Zoo to the east and the Harlem River to the west, reaching as far south as Crotona Park and as far north as Kingsbridge Road.
The two companies assigned to operate the bikes in the borough, ofo and JUMP, noted their respective companies would be in charge of maintaining the bikes and monitoring their locations to ensure they remain in the designated area.
The Bronx Times spoke to a few longtime and former residents of the affected areas prior to the start of the pilot, many of who expressed a general interest for the program, but were a little skeptical about its effectiveness or necessity.
“I wouldn’t say there’s a need for such a program but it would definitely be cool,” said Jhon Dilone, who has lived in Fordham for ten years.
“I think the program would be okay because there’s already bike sharing on other busy NYC streets,” said a male taxi driver who often commutes through the area.
“It’s about time bike sharing programs come to the Bronx,” said lifelong Fordham resident, 21-year-old Aaron Mayorga.
“But the smartphone requirement might box some people out who don’t own smartphones,” continued Mayorga on the way people access the bikes.
Since the bikes are dockless, they can be parked on any public sidewalk, with the attached bike lock being able to unlock via a Bluetooth signal or by scanning a QR code, both which will require the user to download an app to their smartphones.
Some residents were concerned about the safety aspect of increasing the number of cyclists in a high-congestion area with few bike lanes.
“Fordham isn’t really bike-friendly,” said Emmanuel Rivera-Jovel, 23, a longtime Fordham resident.
“I’m not even in favor of bike lanes,” said one woman who lives between Fordham and Kingbridge. “Fordham already has a lot of pedestrians, buses and taxis, which make it very dangerous for bikers and pedestrians.”
While DOT has no plans to unveil additional bike lanes in the area in conjunction with the pilot, a DOT spokesperson stated they would carefully evaluate ofo and JUMP with regards to safety, availability and durability of the bikes and program.
Despite mixed enthusiasm, the assigned companies have expressed optimism in the program’s success.
“Our goal is to make biking accessible for anyone, anywhere,” said ofo spokesperson Jordan Levine.
Ofo’s bikes will be available to rent at $1 per 30 minutes and JUMP’s pedal assist bikes at $2 per 30 minutes, plus seven cents each additional minute.
While the pilot is also planned for Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn roll out as well, the Bronx’ program was set to kick off by the end of July.