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Dockless bike sharing returns to Austin

Zagster gets sole license to launch fleet

White and blue bicycle with person riding it photographed from shoulders down
Zagster’s Pace bicycle in action
Via Zagster

Bike-share company Zagster will begin operating its business in Austin on Monday, according to a company representative, with plans to roll out 200 dockless bicycles on city streets by the end of the week.

The representative’s email statement also included the information that the company, headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., is the only one to date that has obtained a license to operate in Austin.

The launch of Zagster’s fleet of Pace bicycles is the latest move by one of the several vehicle-sharing companies jostling to get their electronic scooters and bicycles operating legally in Austin. Previously, companies LimeBike and Bird introduced dockless electric scooters to Austin streets sans licenses or any existing system for obtaining one, leading the city to create a pilot program for both dockless scooters and bicycles and to issue emergency rules to govern the licensing and deployment of the vehicles.

(Somewhere in there, Zagster and similar company Spin asked the city to ban Bird and LimeBike, claiming the two companies gained an unfair market advantage over those that waited until Austin had some regulations in place.)

Zagster’s rep issued a statement earlier this week, asserting that only that company’s Pace and Uber’s Jump dockless bike-share providers have the “lock-to” technology—the built-in capability of being locked to a bike rack or other appropriate object—that the city’s emergency rules require.