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The 5 Top Bike-Sharing Apps (& How to Choose)

November 22, 2019

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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.

1. Lime

Lime-App-Screenshots.jpg
Credit: Neutron Holdings, Inc.

Website: Li.me

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.

Compatibility: Android, iOS

Average Ratings:

– 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.

2. Mobike

Mobike-App-Screenshots.jpg
Credit: Beijing Mobike Technology Co., Ltd.

Website: Mobike.com

Availability: Charlotte, NC and San Diego, CA

Pricing: Free app. Rentals cost $1 per 15 minutes.

Compatibility: Android, iOS

Average Ratings:

– 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.).

3. Jump

Jump-Bike-Share-App-Screenshots.jpg
Credit: Uber Technologies, Inc.

Website: Jump.com

Availability: 19 U.S. cities

Pricing: Free app. Rentals cost $1 to unlock, rides are priced locally.

Compatibility: Android, iOS

Average Ratings:

– 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.

4. BCycle

BCycle-App-Screenshots.jpg
Credit: B-cycle, LLC

Website: BCycle.com

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.

Compatibility: Android, iOS

Average Ratings:

– 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

Pace-Bike-Share-App-Screenshots.jpg
Credit: Zagster, Inc.

Website: RidePace.com

Availability: 14 U.S. cities

Pricing: Free app. $1 per 15 minutes. Subscription for $9.99/mo or $59.99/yr

Compatibility: Android, iOS

Average Ratings:

– 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.

Vehicle Types

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.

Pricing

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:

Bike Share App Comparison
  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!

Keep rolling: 10 Top Indoor Cycling Apps

Derek has more than two decades of experience as a cyclist, and is the founder of TreadBikely. He currently travels full-time with his family via RV, enjoying the country's best biking destinations. A secular Buddhist, Derek frequently explores the intersection of cycling, mindfulness, and compassion in his writing. #rolloutblissout
2 Comments
  1. Russell Meddin

    I believe that Mobike has ceased all operation in the United States. The Mobike Global APP released the USA one. Also Lime has greatly reduce the number of cities in which it offers its e-bike

    • Derek Lakin

      Thanks so much, Russell!

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