Here’s what happened to Mattapoisett’s bikeshare program

Dec 30, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — With a mile of bike path already constructed and more on the way, Mattapoisett seems like the perfect town for a bikeshare program. 

But when bikeshare company Veoride  tried to bring bikes to the town, they were gone just as quick as they came. 

“Let’s call it a failed business model,” said Friends of the Mattapoisett Bike Path President Bonnie DeSousa. 

Bikeshare programs, which allow riders to pick up and drop off bikes around the towns they’re in at an hourly rate, can usually be found in larger cities. But some smaller towns experimented with the service, to little avail.

“It certainly did not, and will not, work in Mattapoisett,” DeSousa said. 

The bikes were placed in strategic areas like at the Mattapoisett Free Public Library, Town Wharf and Ned’s Point. They were “dockless,” meaning riders could pick them up and drop them off wherever they pleased within town limits and in public view. 

The bikes cost $2 an hour to ride and paired with an app which tracked them and let users know where they could find bikes. 

But the bikes never ended up getting much use in Mattapoisett. DeSousa said that when the bikes were taken out, they never traveled very far. 

“Around here, they’d go on the bike path and come back, or they’d go get ice cream and come back,” she said.  

South Coast Bikeway Alliance, of which DeSousa is a founding member, conducted a survey before the bikes were placed in Mattapoisett. While that survey showed strong interest in a bikeshare program, the reality of the rollout was a little different. The bikes were placed around town in May 2018 and only lasted about a year before VeoRide pulled them from Mattapoisett. 

But DeSousa is still hopeful for a bike rental industry in Mattapoisett in the future — just one that looks a bit more like Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. There, riders can rent bikes for days at a time from dedicated storefronts. 

And with more miles of bike path coming soon, maybe now is the time for the industry to return to Mattapoisett. 

“I think we might see that bike rental in Mattapoisett might be a good enterprise,” DeSousa said. 

Sippican Week reached out to VeoRide for this story, but received no response.