DecoBike: bike sharing in Miami BeachJune, 2014
It would have been a fantastic idea… if it had worked properly: an ideal way to avoid getting stuck in a traffic jam, to avoid parking problems, and to do some exercise.
There are about 100 stations all around Miami Beach (many in South Beach). You can rent a bike in a station and leave it at another one, paying a fee of 4 USD/30′, 6 USD/1 hour, or 15 to 35 USD monthly (rates vary for residents/non residents and depending on the kind of use).
The bike sharing scheme started auspiciously in 2011; it had all it needed to be a success; and it was for a while.
This is what happened to us: in October 2013 we bought a 25 USD pass that allowed us unlimited rentals (max 60 minutes each). In 15 days we tried to use this service about 10 times and we only succeeded on 2 or 3 occasions.
Once the card didn’t work, once everything seemed ok but I couldn’t unlock the bike, once I unlocked the bike but it was broken, and many times the station was empty (so were two nearby stations; at the third we gave up). One time we had to attend a yoga class and we found the bikes, but when we had to park them, the station on 2nd St. was full and so was the next one on 5th St. The problem is that if you keep a bike longer than the time you’ve paid for (30 or 60 minutes) you have to pay 4 USD extra for every 30 minutes; if you park outside the station and someone steals the bike (which is quite usual in Miami Beach) you’re charged 800 USD. The same thing happens if you don’t park the bike in a station within 24h of the beginning of the rental.
It looks like a missed opportunity to us! Even though opinions about the service differ, so maybe it’s a matter of luck.
We suggest you rent with a credit card and have a ride at South Point and Ocean Drive, but it’s better not to use this service if you have appointments or duties that require you to be on time: we missed our yoga class on the beach!
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