• Lime Bike the last bike share company standing, at least for now

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - Seattle's' bike share program is now down another player. Spin bikes, the orange ones, are now following Ofo's lead and pulling out of town.

    Both have cited the city's new permitting costs.

    The green and yellow Lime bikes will be for the most part the only rental bikes you're going to find around Seattle.

    “With Ofo gone and the Spin gone I was thankful these (Lime bikes) were here because I don't think there's another one for a couple of blocks,” said bike share user Eric Billings.

    Now that the city’s bike share pilot program is over, companies have to submit requests for permits, and Lime Bike is the only one willing to pay the price, so far.

    In June, the city of Seattle rolled out regulations for bike shares beginning September 1. Until then, the companies are operating under a pilot program.

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    The price they'll pay will jump from $15 dollars a bike to a flat $250,000 fee.

    Billings is an avid user of bike shares and also an avid believer in microeconomics.

    "I think there's a demand here for these services that there might not be in another city.  On paper, it seems like the perfect mix. I think this should work very well with these companies and they should be able to invest in the city, whether that's through permitting fees or a little extra tax or whatever if their business model works,” said Billings.

    “We’ve had over a million rides!” said Lime Bike’s General Manger Isaac Gross.

    Gross said their business model is working, so they've applied for the permit, even though operating in Seattle will be more expensive in any of their other 70-plus markets.

    "The price per bike is fairly high if you look at it that way. That being said, we've had a really incredible time working in this market and want to continue doing so,” said Gross.

    But Spin Bike feels otherwise. 

     In a statement, Spin said not only are they disappointed, but the rules don't allow for electric scooters.

    "We believe fees should be variable based on an operator's fleet size, and not an arbitrarily high flat fee, with fleet expansions determined by performance," the statement said.

    More companies will likely apply for permits, but none have come forward yet.

    The pilot program allows for four bike share companies and a total of 20,000 bikes.

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