Last week, Seattle established permanent rules for dockless bikeshare companies but questions remain about the shape this new mobility service will take down the road.
Two things are certain: Lime’s bright green bicycles are here to stay and Ofo’s yellow ones are out. But what will become of the third bikeshare company permitted to operate in Seattle over the one-year pilot program that city just concluded? Spin, the San Francisco company with the orange bicycles, isn’t saying it’s leaving, but it also isn’t committing to staying in Seattle.
A Spin spokesperson told GeekWire that the company is reviewing Seattle’s new ordinance, which establishes a $250,000 annual permit for bikeshare companies. Spin declined to comment further.
But over the past few weeks, we’ve noticed fewer of the orange bicycles on Seattle streets. Elsewhere in the country, Spin appears to be prioritizing its free-floating electric scooter service over bikeshare. Here’s how Spin characterizes its service on the company website:
Spin provides your community with dockless scooter-share to get you where you need to go—whether you’re commuting to work, going to class, running errands on the weekends or exploring your city.
While Seattle was piloting dockless bikeshare, Spin, Ofo, and Lime were each permitted to operate a total of 10,000 bikes. Under the permanent program, up to four bikeshare operators and 20,000 bikes will be allowed in Seattle. The city specifically isn’t permitting scooters at this point.
Whether Seattle’s bikeshare program will reach those maximums remains to be seen. With Ofo departing and Spin waffling, there’s a real possibility that Lime could be the only bikeshare company in Seattle in the immediate future.