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Uber, Lyft joining Lime as Seattle bike share providers

Seattle’s next era of bike share is about to begin and it will be powered, oddly enough, by competition between the two largest providers of motor vehicle “share” services.

Uber and Lyft will join existing vendor Lime with bikes for rent on the streets of Seattle with the fleets expected to ramp up by spring 2019, the Seattle Department of Transportation announced.

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SDOT says the shares are an important addition to the public transit environment in the city. “At no cost to the City of Seattle, bike share users took over 2 million total rides through September 2018, including over 9,000 rides per day in July,” SDOT writes in its announcement of the new permits. “Three-quarters of people who used bike share said that they used it to access public transit.”

While seeing the car-focused companies make the cut of the few companies willing to pay Seattle’s $250,000+ annual permit fee might surprise, being a provider of rides on all numbers and sorts of wheels — and more — seems to be the name of the game. We reported here on Lime’s plans to turn the tables and begin offering motor vehicle services in the city.

Those fees will add up to other changes for the bike share industry in Seattle as SDOT is putting the money toward administration, adaptive bike access, equity programs, a new parking compliance effort, and an expansion of bike parking on city streets.

Uber has already begun distributing its bikes in the market. The electric rides are a bright, fishing gear red, and feature built-in locks — though riders aren’t required to lock them up. There’s already a price war, Seattle Bike Blog reports:

JUMP has also changed its pay structure. Where the company formerly charged $2 for 30 minutes, they will now charge $1 to unlock plus 10¢ a minute. Lime charges $1 + 15¢ per minute for their e-bikes and $1 + 5¢ per minute for pedal bikes. So there’s already some price competition at work.

SBB says both companies also offer discounts for riders who qualify for housing, food, utility or transit assistance programs.

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One thought on “Uber, Lyft joining Lime as Seattle bike share providers

  1. Cities providing these businesses special permission to use public infrastructure should impose special restrictions on use of the data those businesses collect. There is strong indication that the bikes and scooters are rented at a loss, with the real profits coming from amassing databases of people’s whereabouts. The same or similar seems likely for cars.

    See also:

    Data could be what Ford sells next as it looks for new revenue
    Ford gets into the scooter business, joins Bird and Lime