Competing bike sharing companies to begin operating in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS – A new way for people to get around downtown St. Louis launched Monday morning, as Mayor Lyda Krewson announced a pair of competing bicycle sharing companies were issued permits to begin operations in St. Louis.

LimeBike and Ofo USA will rent dockless bikes in the city. Over the next few months, an estimated 5,000 bikes will be on the streets between the two companies. LimeBike also offers electric assist bikes and electric scooters. Sam Sadle with LimeBike said all options will be available in St. Louis within the next month. Pricing varies per option.

Since the operation is dockless, meaning there is no designated place to pick a bike up from and return it to, it will not cost the city a thing.

Riders sign up for the service using each company's app. Bikes are tracked by GPS, and the app will tell riders where the nearest bike is.

Then, riders use a smartphone to scan the bike to unlock it and start the ride. When the ride is complete, riders simply park the bike anywhere a bike is allowed and close the lock to complete the trip.

Carter Stern with Ofo USA said their bikes are available for one dollar per hour, and there is no limit to how long riders may rent the bike.

City leaders said they expect to see these bike-share services expanding into the Greater St. Louis area in the coming months.

Both companies are offering free rides for riders as part of the St. Louis launch. Download their apps for more details.