The 5 Top Bike-Sharing Apps (& How to Choose)
About Bike Sharing Apps
Bike-sharing is big business. This is why between 2010 and 2017, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) reports that more than 135 million trips were taken on 44,000+ bikes.
Most bike-sharing systems are metropolitan-specific, such as Bluebikes in Boston, Capital Bikes in Washington D.C., Metro Bike Share in Los Angeles, and Citi Bike in NYC, as just a few examples.
In this article, though, we’ll investigate the top five US-based options, with footprints across varying regions. (Rankings are determined by a combination of Google Play and iTunes downloads, online rider feedback, and overall cost.)
Then, we’ll pull all of the details together and help you decide which bike-sharing app might work best for you.
Availability: 93 U.S. cities
Pricing: Free app. Rentals cost $1 to unlock, $0.15 per minute/$1 per half hour, depending on bike type.
– 4.2 stars, 95K reviews
– 4.9 stars, 1.3 million reviews
Details: Lime offers dockless electric-assist bikes and smart pedal bikes, in addition to electric scooters.
Simply find one near you, unlock it by scanning its code and entering its I.D., and then ride. Once you’ve arrived at your location, park your Lime bike out of the way of pedestrians and other traffic, lock it, and get on with your day.
What Riders Say: The Lime app currently has overwhelmingly positive rider feedback, most of whom report that it’s easy to use and that the vehicles are accessible from a wide variety of locations.
Infrequent complaints reference functionality issues (inaccurate GPS, excess charges, difficulty logging in, etc.), as well as high rental prices.
Availability: Charlotte, NC and San Diego, CA
Pricing: Free app. Rentals cost $1 per 15 minutes.
– 2.1 stars, 17.5K reviews
– 4.8 stars, 1.3 million reviews
Details: Mobike is another dockless bike-share company with tons of online user feedback, although they currently operate just two locations in the United States.
Simply find a nearby bike in the app and unlock it after scanning its Q.R. code. Then, once you’ve reached your destination, slide the clip closed to lock the bike in place, and check your trip details in the app.
What Riders Say: Regardless of platform, most riders appreciate the quality and adjustability of Mobike’s bicycles, as well as the company’s customer support.
On the other hand, frequent complaints—especially among Android users—relate to app functionality (constant crashing, slow loading, drains the battery, etc.).
Availability: 19 U.S. cities
Pricing: Free app. Rentals cost $1 to unlock, rides are priced locally.
– 2 stars, 1.5K reviews
– 4.5 stars, 11K reviews
Details: Owned by Uber, Jump offers access to dockless e-bikes and electric scooters that you 1) locate with your app, 2) make your reservation, and 3) enter the PIN or scan the Q.R. code to unlock and head out.
What Riders Say: With a 2.5-star gap between them, iOS users report far better experiences with the Jump bike app than those on Android.
Complaints commonly indicate that the app malfunctions, especially when attempting to unlock bikes, as well as a less-than-stellar user interface.
Availability: 35 U.S. cities
Pricing: Free app. First 30 min are free, $3–$5 per 30 minutes after that, depending on the city. Memberships (unlimited 30-minute rides) cost $15–$20/mo or $80–$100/yr.
– 3.7 stars, 340+ reviews
– 4.4 stars, 600+ reviews
Details: B-Cycle offers their electric bikes at stations across the U.S., which you can locate in their app, as well as where you can get directions and track your trips.
What Riders Say: Most B-Cycle users like the app’s ease of use and bike availability. Complaints frequently reference bikes that are in poor shape, limited checkout length (one hour), and billing concerns.
5. Pace Bike Share
Availability: 14 U.S. cities
Pricing: Free app. $1 per 15 minutes. Subscription for $9.99/mo or $59.99/yr
– 2 stars, 150+ reviews
– 2.3 stars, 150+ reviews
Details: Like most bike-share apps, you’ll start by locating a Pace bike via the app. Then, you’ll hold the bike to ensure it’s available upon arrival.
After your ride’s finished, you’ll park the bike at any public or Pace-owned rack and use its built-in lock. Subscriptions allow you to take an unlimited number of rides, up to 30 minutes each.
What Riders Say: The Pace Bike Share app has the lowest overall ratings in this list, among both Android and iOS users.
While some appreciate the service, common complaints reference app crashing, payment issues, difficulty unlocking bikes, and less-than-stellar support.
Which Bike Share App is Right For You?
Choosing the right bike-sharing app isn’t complicated.
There isn’t a magic formula, either, so you’ll need to account for factors like location, services, pricing, availability, and your operating system, to name just a few. Let’s see how they apply to the companies in our list:
Docked vs. Dockless
If you’re only interested in dockless options, you’ll want to focus on Lime, Mobike, and Jump.
What about mobility options? Whereas each of the top five bike-share apps provides access to e-bikes, only Lime and Jump also provide scooters, depending on your preference.
Number of Locations
Location-wise, Lime has the most in the U.S. by a wide margin (93 cities), with B-Cycle (35 cities) and Jump (19 cities) relatively far behind. On the other hand, Mobike is only available in two cities.
As far as price is concerned, all of these bike-sharing options offer free apps, although their ride pricing can vary a great deal.
For example, only Lime and Jump require users to pay to unlock their bikes, although Lime also charges the lowest half-hour rates among the bunch. B-Cycle and Pace are the only two currently offering memberships.
Finally, downloading the Jump app might make sense if you’re already an Uber member, and don’t want to give your personal and financial details to yet another company.
Platform & User Reviews
Last, but certainly not least, your operating system could have a big impact on enjoyability when it comes to your new bike share app.
B-Cycle, Jump, and Mobike iOS users report meaningfully better experiences—and leave much higher average ratings—than those on Android.
Here’s a quick-reference table summarizing all of these details:
|Pricing||# U.S. Cities||Dockless?||Scooters?|
|Lime||$1 unlock, $0.15/min or $1/30 min||93||Y||Y|
|Mobike||$1 per 15/min||2||Y||N|
|Jump||$1 unlock, rides priced based on location||19||Y||Y|
|B-Cycle||First 30 min free, then $3–$5 per 30 minutes||35||N||N|
|Pace Bike Share||$1 per 15 minutes, subscriptions $9.99/mo or $59.99/yr||14||N||N|
Did we miss any bike-sharing apps? What’s your experience with these popular options? Leave your comment below and help others #rolloutblissout!
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