Ever planned to take the bus, but wound up calling an Uber? That’s what the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority did in 2016.
That year, ridership across St. Petersburg, Florida’s fixed route bus lines plummeted by 11 percent—twice the drop PSTA experienced in the first year of the recession, and one of the deepest declines of any major U.S. system. Pinellas County constituents had recently rejected the concept of transit even more directly: PSTA’s one-cent “Greenlight Pinellas” sales tax proposal to spread bus service and build a light rail system bombed at the ballots in 2014.
A week after two dockless bike-share companies abandoned operations in the nation’s capital, citing restrictions on the number of bikes they could operate in the city, advocacy groups are calling on officials to think bigger about bike-share — like 20,000 bikes big.
A city the size of D.C., with its existing bike infrastructure, demands 20,000 shared bikes, the groups said in a petition addressed to Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and District Department of Transportation Director Jeff Marootian.
“Dear DDOT: Plan for 20,000 shared bikes, with enough racks and protected lanes for everyone,” the petition says, calling for a sizable expansion as the city transportation agency considers permanent regulations for the bike operators.
LYFT IS TESTING subscription models across the country, offering customers a package of rides for a flat, discounted fee. The packages promote Lyft loyalty and some bear a resemblance to transit passes.
One customer in the Boston area received an email on July 23 inviting the recipient to try Lyft’s All-Access Plan, which offers 30 standard rides worth up to $15 apiece for a flat fee of $299 a month. The user pays any ride cost greater than $15.
“Leave the car at home and save,” the Lyft email said. “We’re creating a new subscription plan to lock in 30 rides and you’ve been selected to test it first.”
Once an electric scooter has been released into the urban wild, its life might best be likened to that of a medieval serf — backbreaking labor followed by the strong possibility of an ignominious end.
Scooters that reach their expiration date after being worn down merely by inclement weather, overuse and hazardous potholes are the lucky ones. Many others can expect their final moments to be undeniably barbaric.
Some face death by bonfire, and others are flung into the ocean or tossed from the top of parking garages and bridges, shattering on concrete sidewalks or disappearing into murky waters below. Scooters have also been intentionally run over by trucks or torn apart — limb by electronic limb — by angry drunks and rage-filled teenagers screaming abusive epithets.
At one point, a San Francisco repair shop was inundated with as many as 100 scooters a day, forcing owner Michael Ghadieh to hire three new mechanics.
“The angry people, they were angry,” Ghadieh told CNET. “People cut cables, flatten tires, they were thrown in the bay. Someone was out there physically damaging these things.”