Bikeshare 'Border War' Breaks Out in Boston

Private dockless bikeshare companies are encroaching on territory controlled by public, docked bikeshare companies.
May 20, 2018, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Felix Mizioznikov

Adam Vaccaro reports on the emergence of a "bike-share border war" in Boston and surrounding cities.

In the first — but probably not the last — flare-up in an inevitable bike-share border war, Boston is seizing vehicles from a Cambridge startup called Ant Bicycle, whose sudden incursion has tested the city’s ability to keep up with the fast-changing bike-rental industry.

Ant Bicycle's private dockless system has crossed into the territory of a public, traditional system called Blue Bikes (formerly Hubway). According to Vaccaro, "officials in the Blue Bikes municipalities say the dockless systems aren’t welcome, because the Blue Bikes contract designates the company as the sole bike system."

The city of Boston has responded by impounding Ant bikes. Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone has warned the company that it will also take punitive action of Ant bikes start to appear on the streets of that nearby city.

As if that weren't enough potential for drama, "[the] issue will become more complex this summer, when thousands of dockless bikes from other companies are deployed in 15 Boston suburbs, including Milton, Newton, and Medford," reports Vaccaro.

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Published on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 in The Boston Globe
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