DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After months of debate and thousands of complaints about dockless rental bikes, the Dallas City Council approved a new ordinance requiring companies obtain a permit so they can operate in the city.
Council members also gave the green light to a six-month trial period for rental scooters.
Jeff Roberts, the Dallas Operations Manager for Lime Bike, which offers bikes and scooters said, “We applaud the city of Dallas for looking at innovation.”
In a statement, another firm that offers rental scooters, Bird, said “Bird applauds the City Council for taking action to add shared electric scooters to Dallas’ transit system and finalize an ordinance that will allow for our accessible, affordable last-mile transportation option.”
The firms will have to pay the city $21 per vehicle each year.
Roberts said Lime Bike now has 3,000 bikes in the city and will offer 500 scooters to start.
Ofo, Spin, Mobike and VBikes also operate in Dallas, but it’s unclear if they will all apply for a permit.
The scooters will operate under the same rules as the dockless rental bikes, which have racked up more than 3,200 complaints in the city since last September.
Roberts said, “We’ve learned a lot from the past ten months that we’ve been in Dallas. We learn every day and we learn how to operate better.”
Residents have filed complaints by calling 311.
After getting a complaint, the companies must pick up the bikes within two hours between 6am and 6pm Monday through Friday — and within 12 hours every other time.
Council members say one major complaint has been bikes left strewn in residential neighborhoods.
During the council meeting, Councilman Tennell Atkins said, “People in my district keep asking me when will they move that particular bike on that corner, and that bike is still there.”
The new ordinance addresses this as well.
Jared White of the city’s Transportation Department said, “A guideline in the ordinance that says a bike cannot sit in a residential neighborhood for more than two days without getting picked up. Something else, the bikes can’t be deployed on sidewalks that are narrower than eight feet. So that’s really saying where the bikes can be deployed.”
White says the city will be able to enforce the ordinance. “We’ll be able to see where these bikes are and we’ll know through 311 complaints if we have hotspots and we’ll be able to address these issues in the office and deploy people to these areas so we’re not wasting time driving around town.”
The city will also be able to impose fines against the companies if they show a pattern of not complying with the ordinances.