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The most exciting item of the night (which isn't really saying much): Dockless bikes, B-Cycle funding and e-scooters. Presentation:…
Boulder first started allowing dockless bike share (commercial fleets) in 2018, but the regs were too strict, staff found. No one applied. (Plus e-bike co. switched to scooters or went out of biz)…
Regulations included: lock-to mechanism, which allows bikes to be “locked to” something to prevent them from being left places and blocking streets, sidewalks, biz, etc.
We're taking a fiver, which is nice, so I'm going to move back inside bc MOSQUITOES.
OK, back to biz. Council last visited Jan. 28. The biggest item was e-scooters, but members also agreed to loosen rules on dockless bikes in hopes of attracting some.…
A look at the proposed changes (versus original rules)

Initial fleet size upped to 500 (from 100)

Can add 20% if 2 rides per bike per day is averaged in previous 2 weeks; if less than 1 ride per bike per day, fleet is reduced by 10% (b4: allowed quarterly increases)
$50 fine if bike obstructs sidewalk, ramp, etc. for 2 hrs+; after 12 hrs, $100 fine (previously didn’t specify improper parking locations and required city notification for removal)

15% of fleet must be in underserved areas, to be rebalanced daily (no previous %)
25% of “rebalancing” bikes must be e-bikes in first year (new requirement)

15 mph limit off-street, 20 mph on-street (new requirement)

Safety check and maintenance required when battery is replaced (was every 4 weeks)
Co. removes bikes from ROW in snow / weather events (new requirement)

Must provide free trips under 30 min, discount on year pass and cash option for those under federal poverty level (new requirement)

Data required monthly (was quarterly)
Some of the data Boulder will be asking for: total no. of rides the previous month, total no. of bikes in service for the previous month, avg. no. of rides per vehicle per day ....
... anonymized aggregated data taken by the permit holder's dockless vehicles in the form of heat maps showing routes, trends, origins, and destinations, anonymized trip data taken by the permit holder's dockless vehicles that includes the origin and destination...
.... trip duration, distance and date and time of trip and "other reports at the city's request"
This won't open the floodgates, exactly: Staff is recommending Boulder issue an RFP (competitive bidding process) and select exactly 1 company to operate here.

So Boulder will get, at most, 500 dockless bikes
TAB OK'd this plan
Touching on the B-Cycle issue (reminder: They're going broke): Boulder might require the dockless bike company to work with B-Cycle in some capacity.
Some options for B-Cycle:
Contractor or cost-share agreement
Transfer of B-Cycle members to private co.
B-Cycle becomes city/RTD/county or Via-owned system
B-Cycle strategic plan coming to council in the fall
Forgot to call this out (though it was included in the changes) that some of these dockless bikes will be electric, with speeds up to 20 mph on the street and 15 mph on paths.
E-bikes have been allowed on streets since early 2000s and on multi-use paths in recent years. Still a no-go on OSMP trails, but the dept is reconsidering that this year
COVID has impacted bike share and scooter share companies quite a bit, Boulder transportation planner Dave Kemp (who goes by D.K.) says.

It was already pretty volatile pre-pandemic
B-Cycle portion trips are *way* down during COVID
They dropped their prices and extended free rides, which will be in place through 2021, Kemp says.
B-Cycle got a PPP loan, too. Also some support from Google, so they are meeting payroll. But barely, Kemp says.

There's a $50K subsidy from the city in the 2021 budget, but that will only fund operations for about 6 weeks.
If CU kicks in more $$ (which it did last year) they could be operational for longer. As of now, they have enough $$ to keep going through March 2021, Kemp says.
His cat says MEOWWWW really loudly in the background
Clarification: A $50K subsidy for B-Cycle will be *requested* in the 2021 budget. That process starting soon.

Kemp: "We're pretty sure we don't have the $$ in transportation to go above and beyond the $50K we already have allocated."
That was in response to Yates q. He's asking, bc that $$ will be allocated before a new path for B-Cycle is decided. They might not exist by the time 2021 comes around.
Kemp: It's worth investing in. At least having that $50K available for micro mobility will be good for us in the long run.
Cowern: The simplest answer is yes, we could choose not to spend that $$, even if it were allocated.
Checking on on e-scooters, which are currently banned in Boulder. That moratorium is expiring this year.

Council/staff largely rejected them over safety concerns. But they kept investigating possible *seated* scooters.
I mean, there were many other concerns (see link above) but where council ended up was: Maybe let's revisit this once seated e-scooters become a thing.

"We feel that's more a calculated risk worth taking," Kemp says.
I saw a seated e-scooter in Denver the other day. I hadn't seen one IRL when council last discussed them.

Another pro of newer, seated scooters: Longer lifespan. That was a big concern RE: the environment, bc they only last like 30 days and battery waste is bad.
Basically council has 3 choices: Keep banning all shared e-scooters, forever ban only seated e-scooters and allow seated ones, or end the moratorium and allow all e-scooters.
Wallach: Why would we allow only one company? Is that to benefit the company or the community?
Kemp: It's both. If you allow more than one co., you cut into the viability for the company.
Wallach: "We would not protect a restaurant from competition." It's "a little bit problematic" to protect a company that comes under an RFP and "granting them a monopoly"
Kemp: This is common with RFPs. It's how B-Cycle got started.

Yeah, and that turned out great....
Kemp: There is a lot of risk right now in micro mobility. If we grant more than one license, we risk losing them. If we grant one, we can keep that co. here. And it's easier for the community to have only one company, one app, to use.
Wallach: Why did we jump from 150 to 500 for a fleet size? What's the rationale?
Kemp: 500 is what other comparable cities have done. We want to serve Gunbarrel.
RE: e-scooters: Council won't decide that until the fall.
Yates asking about fleet size being tied to the number of rides (decreases if there isn't much utilization, increases if there's more): What's B-Cycle been doing? (Pre-COVID?)

Kemp: I'm not sure on that
Yates: The industry is struggling. Do you think we'll get bidders if we do an RFP?
Kemp: Yes. I've talked with two private co. who are interested in operating under our regulations
Yates: What's the rate of adoption for seated e-scooters? Can we get good safety data in 3-6 months? Or would we be at the forefront?
Kemp: The companies have provided data, and it's looking a lot better than standing scooters.
Weaver: My q is going to sound snarky but it's not.
That question is: What's the difference between seated e-scooters and e-bikes? And seated e-scooters and standing e-scooters?
I would say more dumb than snarky. Too bad. I miss Sassy Sam Weaver. He's become Subdued Sam Weaver since his appointment to mayor hood.
Kemp's answer, btw, was the drive train and peddling on a bike. "That's definitely the most important characteristic."
E-bikes are also bigger and "more robustly built" than e-scooters, Kemp says. The have roughly the same stopping power.
6 speakers!
I'm enjoying the mundane nature of tonight's council meeting and public hearings. It's thoroughly non-controversial and super in the weeds. Classic municipal issues. I'M HERE FOR IT
Dang, half the speakers didn't show up. Oh, well.
Anyway, Jud Valeski ain't about that dockless life, since bikes/scooters get left everywhere.
Andrea Meneghel, from the Boulder Chamber, IS about that dockless life.

We're seeing micro mobility companies fall day by day, and transportation $$ shrink up, he says. We have to innovate to meet our "workforce mobility challenges."
Wallach wary of that dockless life, too: How long will our contract be with the company? How will we create changes if we need to, if we're locked into a contract?
Kemp: We can create the contract for one year, two year, three years.... And the ordinance includes fines for improperly docked bikes. They have 2 hrs to move bikes before we charge $50, 12 hrs before we charge $100.
Council unanimously approves staff's recommendation as-is.
That's it for this one, though we will revisit B-Cycle and e-scooters in the fall.

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