If you are skeptical about the concept of dockless bikeshare, you can test one company out for free this month.
Bikeshare company ofo said it would not charge riders during the month of January in D.C. as it continues its participation in a pilot program.
China-based ofo is one of five dockless bikeshare companies permitted by the District to offer its service on a trial basis through April. District officials are seeking feedback on dockless bikeshare options to see if it can be added on a permanent basis to supplement Capital Bikeshare.
With dockless bikeshare bikes are equipped with location-tracking technology and users locate bikes using a smartphone app. Bikes can be “unlocked” by scanning a code on the bike. The bikes can be left and picked up anywhere in a public space, and users are charged an hourly rate for their use. So far, the pilot program has received mixed reviews; some users said the system has made it easier to find and use bikes for getting around town, but residents have also complained about bikes strewn about in some neighborhoods.
In addition to ofo, the District is allowing testing by competitors JUMP, LimeBike, Mobike, and Spin.