Last week, access to shared bicycles expanded yet again in New Jersey with the launch of the LimeBike dockless bike share system in Plainfield. Designed to help residents get around town, including to or from the train station, the bikes are available for $1 an hour. The dockless technology means bicycles can be left on any suitable sidewalk or bike rack at the end of the trip. LimeBike will also be launching in Metuchen in the near future. Like in Plainfield, Metuchen officials hope to facilitate access to the train station without a car.
These municipalities are following in the steps of Camden, which launched its own dockless bike share system in May with ofo. Like Limebike, ofo bicycles are available for $1 an hour and do not rely on docking stations. Camden wants to use bike share to improve access to jobs, groceries, and services to local residents.
In North Jersey, Hudson Bike Share now offers bicycles in Hoboken, Bayonne, Weehawken, West New York, Guttenberg, North Bergen, as well as Port Imperial and a trial period with the NJ State Park Service at Liberty State Park. The system has recently joined the “JerseyBike” brand as the operators are soon extending beyond Hudson County. They are planning on launching soon in Point Pleasant Beach and Woodbridge. Members will be able to access the bicycles in all the municipalities with their annual subscription.
These systems join Asbury Park and Princeton, who have a system operated by Zagster, and Jersey City, which uses New York’s Citibike system. Other municipalities around the state operate smaller independent bike share systems for their residents and visitors. Additional municipalities, such as New Brunswick, are looking to launch their own systems in the future.
One innovation that has not yet appeared in New Jersey is electric-assist bike share. With this technology, riders get a boost when going up hills or when keeping up with traffic. However, Jersey City is looking into adding e-bikes to their system.