Hello Link Members -
I have some positive, yet bittersweet news during this trying time for many in our community.
First, the good news. Many of you have waited patiently these last few years to watch Link grow and expand. You’ve asked for more Link locations repeatedly in our annual survey, and from the very beginning, the staff at Bike Miami Valley and our operational partner, Greater Dayton RTA have been working diligently behind the scenes to find a path forward to help Link grow. Today, I am pleased to announce that we’ve found that path.
When we launched the system in May of 2015, the world of bike sharing looked very different. Today, bike share programs have evolved into micromobility programs that bring new devices and new technologies to the field. In the winter of 2019, the board and staff at Bike Miami Valley and Greater Dayton RTA set out to leverage some of those new technologies and devices to help us evolve the system into something that will better meet Dayton’s needs.
When we set out to explore new system types, we knew we wanted to lower the cost of expansion to help us increase density, and add electric bicycles to our fleet to reach more users. We also knew we wanted to help RTA fulfill their Mobility-as-a-Service vision and integrate with transit. This process led us to a new partnership with the micromobility provider, Drop Mobility. The team at Drop is enthusiastic to help us better serve your mobility needs, and we look forward to welcoming them to Dayton.
So what does all of this mean for you?
We’ll be adding 100 e-bikes to our fleet! The electric motor on these bikes will assist you when you pedal. We think they’re tons of fun, and we can’t wait for you to try them! These bikes will be white with green accents to help them stand out. We will keep you posted on opportunities to get a test ride in before the full launch.
(This is a demo version of the eLink bike)
We’re evolving to a lock-to hub system. Our stations will be replaced with dedicated bike racks, where you will leave and pick up the green Link bikes and eLink bikes, just like you currently do. You will check out the bikes exclusively with the soon-to-be-live, Link Dayton app! The new process will feel a lot like locking a personal bike to a rack. This new set-up will give us more freedom and flexibility to move locations when there is construction or increase parking at popular events. Link bike parking will remain predictable and reliable as within the current system. The green Link bikes will be retrofitted with a smart-lock upgrade so they can communicate with the app. The goal this spring is to get our existing locations swapped. Service will be disrupted for a period of time (more on that later). You will receive specific instructions related to your membership during this time. We thank you in advance for your patience. Be sure to follow us on social media and right here in this newsletter to learn about where new locations will be added when we reopen the system.
Greater Dayton RTA’s long term goal is that you’ll be able to plan and pay for all of our micromobility trips in one platform. Our goal this spring is to keep our bikes visible on the Transit app (where you can currently plan your bus trip). Deeper levels of integration will follow in the coming years, but we hope one app for all modes makes it easier for more people to take advantage of active transportation options.
I say all of this with the recognition that this news brings about a lot of change and a lot of unanswered questions about how things will work moving forward. Rest assured that those answers are coming. As existing members, you will receive a special invite to join the new system at a rate no one else will see. If you have time left on your annual membership, it will be honored in the new system. We thank you for your loyalty these last (almost five!) years.
The bittersweet news is that due to the current health crisis, we’re moving up our closing date for the transition of the system by a few weeks to March 22nd. You can still use Link through March 21st. If you do use Link during the coming days, I want to remind you to take the following precautions:
Be sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water after using Link
Avoid touching your face after using Link
Avoid using Link if you suspect you are sick
Bring Your Own Wipes (BYOW)! Though the bikes having been going through a cleaning this winter, this will ensure a clean ride
Keep a distance of 6 feet between yourself and other riders if you choose to ride with people
Finally, have fun! It is a bike ride after all.
I would be remiss if I didn’t say “Thank you” to the City of Dayton and our operational partner Greater Dayton RTA, who have been great partners in making this new system a reality.
Stay tuned for more details on this transition. With your continued support, Link will roll on!
All the best,