Shawn Olstein ’22
Despite the LimeBike Program gaining a new student manager on the Trinity campus, LimeBikes announced that the program will come to an end both on campus and in the City of Hartford. While no official end date for the program has been set by Hartford or LimeBike, an official representing LimeBike confirmed on Tuesday, February 12, that the program will be coming to an end. “In the coming weeks, we will be phasing out LimeBikes through the greater Hartford region,”
said Scott Mullen, Director of Northeast Expansion for LimeBike in an article in The Hartford Courant by Jenna Carlesso. “Riders should be sure to check the app for the location of the nearest vehicle.”
According to Trinity’s Director of Community Service and Civic Development, the LimeBike student manager position “was someone who was in coordination with LimeBike, helping keep the Trinity location a bit more organized and stocked with bicles during this fall semester. The Trinity student appointed to the student manager position was Matthew Rivera ’20. However, Barber says that “there was no input by Trinity in the decision to end the program” as Trinity was simply a “hotspot” location for LimeBike and did not have a separate agreement with the company. Barber added that he “does not think that the loss of LimeBike will have a huge impact at Trinity. It certainly is a loss, as we are not in a position to run a good bike share program on our own, however it was only on campus since the summer of 2018.” Regarding his personal thoughts on LimeBike, Barber stated, “I’m definitely unhappy that LimeBike is leaving Hartford; I thought it was a great addition to Hartford and Trinity’s transportation options. However, we are now looking into other possible partnership opportunities that could help us continue to promote bike transportation for Trinity students.”
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin stated that the city would be looking to partner with a new bike, or scooter sharing service and indicated that the City of Hartford has been contacted by other business who are willing to come to Hartford. “We always viewed this as a pilot program, and we will probably be putting out either an RFP or another process to identify others that could come in,” Bronin said.
While in recent months Hartford residents have reported seeing an increasing number of damages on LimeBikes ranging from bent wheels and broken baskets, to an entire bike frozen in the Bushnell Park pond, Mullen stated that damages to bikes was not behind the reason for LimeBike’s departure from Hartford. Mullen did not provide a clear answer as to why LimeBike was leaving, stating only that it would be over the next few weeks. The LimeBike company gained $310 million in financing in early February, putting the company valuation at around 2.4 billion dollars.
There may be new transportation services similar to LimeBike, however, information on pricing and specific vehicle options are unknown until an official company partner for Hartford is chosen. City Councillor Jimmy Sanchez has confirmed that the city council has been contacted by two other bike sharing services that offer electrical transportation devices. While unconfirmed, it is likely that an electrical device offered by these companies may be scooters.