For its long-awaited entry into public bike sharing, Dallas debuted its program on November 14 at Fair Park. But in downtown Dallas, Lockton Companies gets bragging rights for the private bike share it introduced for its employees in October.
An insurance brokerage firm headquartered in the Dallas Arts District, Lockton brought in a suite of 12 bikes as a cool employee perk, in keeping with the company's health and wellness initiatives. Its program is run by Zagster, which operates private bike shares around the country, and which Lockton CEO Bruce Sammis liked because of its easy adoptability.
"We clearly went into this program with the thought that if others in the area liked it, it would be easy for them to adopt it," says Lockton CEO Bruce Sammis.
"We clearly went into this program with the thought that if others in the area liked it, it would be easy for them to adopt it," Sammis says. "We selected a vendor so that if someone else liked the idea, instead of them doing all the research we did, they could pick up the phone, make a proposal and get it implemented within 30 days."
That 30-day timeframe stands in contrast to the 12-month minimum anticipated for Downtown Dallas Inc. and the City of Dallas to implement city-wide bike sharing.
The Fair Park project has two locations: one near the DART station off Parry Avenue and the other near the DART MLK Jr. station. Funded by the Dallas City Council in March, that program will be overseen by the nonprofit Friends of Fair Park group. Technically it is not a bike-share system; it's a rental. There are about 10 bikes, which cost $5 for the first 30 minutes and $2.50 for each additional 30 minutes.
By being first out of the gate with bicycles in downtown Dallas, Sammis hopes Lockton is an inspiration for both private and public bike sharing. "It allowed us to spark momentum, get the conversation going and maybe be the catalyst that helps bring it forward," he says.
And they are actively seeking other companies to join them on the bicycle train.
"A couple of the tenants [in Lockton's building] have inquired directly to Zagster, and I have sent a description out to a couple of other companies that are in the area near Klyde Warren Park that are friends or clients," Sammis says. "No one has decided to do it, and no one has decided not to do it, but there are several other companies looking at the model."
Sammis admits that Lockton is "way over-biked" for the 350-employee company, but he says that's by design.
"We wanted it to be so that if a handful of people wanted to go out together or someone wanted to come down on a weekend and bring their family, they could check out seven or eight bikes, cruise around and enjoy the Arts District or Uptown," he says.
If public bike sharing doesn't come to fruition in downtown anytime soon, Sammis is open to the possibility of sharing Lockton's bikes with the public.
"We might consider opening it up to others," Sammis says. "Our thought at this point is that for probably six months we're going to use it for our own associates and see how it goes. What we're really looking for are like-minded employers who would also want to do this."