‘Wow!’ is the the reaction to the new e-bikes rolling onto Kansas City streets
They are smart. They can be shared. And they are coming soon to Kansas City.
On Friday, a new fleet of electric-assist bicycles will begin rolling on the city’s streets.
Kansas City’s latest shared transportation program is a partnership between private, public and nonprofit groups.
RideKC, BikeWalkKC and Drop Mobility will unveil the program at 10 a.m. Friday at the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, 1200 East 18th St.
The new bikes will operate alongside the existing bike share system, and existing members of that system will be credited for an equal membership to use the new bikes.
The difference in the new fleet of bikes is Drop Mobility’s “lock-to” smart technology.
According to a press release announcing the project:
People wishing to use one of the bikes can utilize a smartphone app to find and unlock a bike.
When they are finished riding, the app will also allow them to find locations for “hubs” or bike parking stations.
Each bike will be equipped with onboard GPS so RideKC staff will know when they need charging or servicing.
The electric assist feature of the new fleet will help riders with a boost when pedaling uphill or on longer rides. It can also help people with physical limitations. The bikes will be regulated to not exceed 20 mph.
“The RideKC family of transit options has just become more robust,” Robbie Makinen, president and CEO of KCATA said in the release. “We understand that people want the freedom to choose how they get around.”
Makinen noted that the three-way partnership is a first in the Kansas City “transit space.”
Qiming Weng, CEO of Drop Mobility, said the company is committed to “furthering the advent of micromobility.”
“Through this partnership, we will deliver a truly seamless, integrated and sustainable micromobility service,” Weng said.
Eric Rogers, executive director of BikeWalkKC, said the partnership will allow access for more people while ensuring that the bikes are “responsibly secured.”
“Shared mobility is rapidly evolving worldwide with new technologies such as dockless and electric-assist options,” he said.
The bikes join the Bird and Lime electric scooters, which appeared in the city earlier this year to offer options in micromobility.