Program Report: Bryan Poole – Ride Sharing in Durham

Menu of City Transportation Services Is Expanding, Planner Says

If you’ve seen more bike sharing in Durham, you get an A for paying attention.

As City Planner Bryan Poole explained to a full house at Monday’s lunch, Durham has become home to about 500 bikes available for check out and rent by smartphone app and other means for residents without apps or credit cards. Since the program was launched less than a year ago as a private-sector initiative, the city has recorded about 60,000 rides with an existing average of about 2,000 users each month.

With feasibility studies funded by state and federal grants, and census data in hand, city officials have worked to make the bikes available across all census tracts and neighborhoods, York said, with social and neighborhood equity embedded in the distribution plan.

“There are lots of surprising places they ride,” he said. “People are really using them.”

The private sector companies providing the equipment and logistics are not making a lot of money at this stage, Poole said. Rather, they view dock-less biking in Durham as an entry point to help the city provide more options in a growing space known as “the world of shared mobility.”

The next step will be to focus on providing electric scooters, which is still in study, permitting and review, but could result in available scooters by the autumn.

“Safety is one of the biggest concerns we have in the department,” Poole said. Typical issues around the legal definition of scooters, liability in the event of accidents, and refining the location of parking zones in hot spots are still being worked out, he said.

Poole was introduced by Rotarian Emily Egge. We thank Poole for the update and look forward to another visit as the program progresses.

(Submitted by Mark Lazenby)

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