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Dockless bike share companies in D.C. struggle with theft

Some brands have reportedly lost half of their fleets

Photo: Courtesy of LimeBike

Dockless bike share companies have blanketed Washington, D.C. streets with their bikes — brands like Spin, Mobike, Ofo and LimeBike debuted in the city last year. But now the Washington Post reveals some interesting details on the brands’ problems with theft and vandalism of its fleets of bikes.

“They have lost a lot of their bikes,” the city’s bike program specialist Kimberly Lucas told the Post, saying that some companies have told city transportation officials that they have lost up to half of their fleets (each bike company is allowed to operate a maximum of 400 bikes for now to prevent bike litter).

The companies told the Post that the losses aren’t as high as 50 percent, but do acknowledge that some users have gamed the system and gotten around paying for rides. D.C. isn’t the only city of course where theft or vandalism of bikeshare bikes is a problem, of course, but the District is still evaluating the status of its dockless program.