Dallas city leaders send scathing memo to bike-share companies

Bike-share companies are responding to a scathing memo sent by Dallas city leaders on how to better manage the overflow of bikes.

It comes as vandals continue to target rental bikes in the city. Someone burned several bikes along the Katy Trail. Police urged people to take complaints to city hall instead of vandalizing property.

Both ofo and LimeBike sent response letters back to the city. ofo said the city needs to weed out the bad operators, while LimeBike said they're making an effort to work with the city as partners to take care of their bikes and make it work for everyone.

But they also say it’s about a mutual respect between the community and bike share, too.

Beth Pribulsky walks the Katy Trail often, just as often, sees what seems like an endless supply of bikes.

“It seems like there's quite a few bikes for the number of people who are using them,” she said.

In fact, the city of Dallas says there are roughly 20,000 bikes within city limits. About 10,000 in the DFW area come from LimeBike.

“Dallas has suddenly become the largest bike share city in the country,” said LimeBike Dallas General Manager Anthony Fleo. “So that has some challenges.”

City manager T.C. Broadnax sent a memo to bike share companies last week that detailed what each should do with bike fleets. It included where they needed to be placed and how they should be maintained.

LimeBike sent its response to the city on Friday and told FOX 4 it's not adding any new bikes with crews addressing issues and 311 complaints.

“We have around 50 people on the ground now,” Fleo said. “And they work all different areas of the city.”

LimeBike says it hopes to double the number of employees dedicated to keeping bikes in order and also educate the public about bike proper etiquette.

“I want to continue to work with the city to make sure it works how we want it to work,” Fleo said.

Meanwhile, ofo’s response to the city memo had a much different tone.

“While we take issue with the failure to differentiate between the various bike share companies, we confess that the behavior of some of our fellow operators worries us deeply,” ofo’s response said. “We applaud the free market approach you have taken to bike share in Dallas but think the market still needs time to winnow out the bad operators and inform any proposed regulations.”

ofo went on to say it will continue to be committed to 24-hour customer service, monthly maintenance on bikes and field crews to address any issues.

Residents will get a chance to voice their concerns directly at a community meeting next month in the Bishop Arts District. Reps from LimeBike and City Councilman Philip Kingston are expected to attend.