Over the weekend, many Seattleites couldn’t help but notice the abundance of neon, free floating bicycles turning up all over the city.
Two new bike sharing companies are behind the invasion — Spin Bike rolled out 500 orange bicycles a little over a week ago and LimeBike debuted its own fleet of 500 bright green bikes Thursday.
— Greg Roth (@WeRideWhy) July 31, 2017
That amounts to 1,000 dockless bikes that Seattleites can pick up, ride around for $1 every 30 minutes, and drop off anywhere in the city. If you live in Seattle, you’ve undoubtedly seen the bikes around town; they’re hard to miss. Team GeekWire certainly has, spotting them in Fremont, Ballard, Greenlake, SoDo, and Discovery Park.
And it’s just the beginning.
New city regulations initially allow 500 bikes from each provider, but that goes to 1,000 each next month, and 2,000 each the following month. Spin says its ultimate goal is to have 10,000 bikes across Seattle.
RELATED: Testing the new breed of bike sharing: We pitted Spin vs. LimeBike on the streets of Seattle
If LimeBike plans a similar trajectory, that could amount to 20,000 shared bicycles around the city.
Spin reported 5,008 rides through the first week of service. That means each bike facilitated about 10 rides, with each bike getting picked up and ridden once or twice day. Of course, the service is new and Spin estimates adoption will increase over time.
In a tweet, LimeBike CEO Toby Sun said Saturday saw close to 2,500 LimeBike rides in Seattle. That translates to about five rides per bike.
close to 2500 rides on Saturday to be more accurate:) https://t.co/qNbecrx9My
— Toby Sun (@tobysun) July 31, 2017
It’s been a rocky road for bike sharing in Seattle. The city had to shut down its first attempt, a public-private bike sharing service called Pronto.
To put LimeBike’s ~5 rides per bike in context, Pronto got an average of 1.2 rides per bike per day during it’s best ever week.
— Seattle Bike Blog (@seabikeblog) July 31, 2017
But Spin and LimeBike are both confident they’ll succeed where Pronto failed. One fundamental difference between Pronto and the two newcomers is the city’s first bike share attempt required people to pick up and drop off the bikes at docks. Both Spin and LimeBike are dockless.
“We aren’t worried at all,” Spin Bike CEO Derrick Ko said in an email. “There are plenty of neighborhoods we’d like to provide access to our bikes, and we will the moment the permit allows us to do so. As Seattle’s population increases, having a high availability of alternative transportation like what Spin provides is vital to reducing the ever-worsening congestion in the city.”