After police sweep, Indego e-bikes return to Philly docking stations

10% of the vehicles were recovered — but the city won’t say how many went missing in the first place.

Indego electric bikes were differentiated by their white paint jobs

Indego electric bikes were differentiated by their white paint jobs

Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital
maxmarin-square

Philadelphia’s popular electronic bikes will begin returning to Indego docking stations on Valentine’s Day.

Don’t worry: You won’t get stopped by the police if you ride one.

The motorized two-wheelers were quietly removed from Philly’s bike share last month amid a PPD investigation. The department ordered officers to stop anyone seen on the blue-and-white bikes in an attempt to recover stolen or missing units from the 120-count e-bike fleet.

“Operation Pegasus” is now over, the city confirmed. The battery-powered cycles will start being placed at docking stations Friday, and be re-introduced in batches over the next few weeks.

A handful of e-bikes were recovered as part of the sweep — but it’s still unclear how many went missing in the first place.

“With the support of the Philadelphia Police Department, 10% of missing electric bikes were recovered and brought in for refurbishment,” said city spokesperson Kelly Cofrancisco.

The city declined to say how many of the $2,500-a-pop bikes remain unaccounted for as of Friday. But the fleet will be growing regardless.

Cofrancisco said the city has purchased an additional 200 e-bikes at the same per-unit cost — a roughly $500,000 buy. While the fleet size may vary,  they expect “between 150 and 300 e-bikes active during typical days.”

Indego said they would be outfitting the e-bikes to make them harder to steal in the future, according to WHYY’s PlanPhilly, which first reported on the MIA two-wheelers. No specifics were provided.

In several other cities, like Washington D.C. and Phoenix, Ariz., some bike share vehicles are tagged with GPS trackers. None of Philly’s pedal-assisted e-bikes had been equipped with geotags when the city sent them into the streets last summer.

Support our coverage in these very weird times

As the coronavirus spreads through our communities, local reporting is critical. Our newsroom runs on member support — if you value our updates, make a donation today.

Let's stick together in these weird times

As the coronavirus spreads through our communities, local reporting is critical. Our newsroom runs on reader support — if you value our updates, consider making a donation today.

Lock in your support

Reader support powers our local pandemic reporting. A monthly membership helps lock it in.

Can we count on you as a Billy Penn sustainer?

Winning the local journalism game

Thank you: Member support powers our newsroom.

Know someone else who might want our daily COVID updates? Invite them to sign up for our free morning newsletter.