Seattle inches closer to e-scooter pilot program, with focus on West Seattle, BIPOC neighborhoods

Aug 19, 2020, 4:42 PM

e-scooter, scooters, scootershare...

An e-scooter pilot program could arrive in Seattle by fall of 2020. (SDOT)


Seattle residents have been waiting on the arrival of shared electric scooters for almost a year now, and in the next few months, that goal may finally be realized.

Bikeshares temporarily removed from Seattle following JUMP-Lime merger

The Seattle City Council’s transportation committee voted Wednesday to move legislation enacting a scootershare pilot program to the full council, where it will give it a final vote on Sept. 8.

The latest version of the pilot, drafted by the Seattle Department of Transportation, accounts for ongoing concerns over the COVID-19 crisis. With that in mind, SDOT believes that it has properly mitigated for the risk of spreading the virus, while also helping to ease traffic brought on by the closure of the West Seattle Bridge.

“As we move into Phase 3 of our scootershare pilot program, we are confident that scooters can fit into our COVID-19 recovery efforts and help remediate travel challenges created by the closure of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge,” SDOT said in a news release.

To that end, companies providing scooters will be tasked with paying “special attention” to neighborhoods like South Park, Delridge, West Seattle, and Georgetown.

The city completed an environmental review for e-scooters in May, and began accepting applications from scootershare companies in July. Nine companies expressed interest in contracting with the city to provide scooters “and bring scooters to Seattle as early as this fall.”

Rules begin to take shape for e-scooters in Seattle

“If City Council approves us to move forward, we would start small to ensure this goes smoothly by permitting three of these companies to operate up to 500 scooters each, with the potential to grow up to 2,000 scooters per company in the future if things go well,” SDOT detailed.

Companies will be required to have “reduced-rate plans for low income communities,” while making a minimum of 10% of scooter fleets available in “neighborhoods with a higher proportion of communities of color, immigrants, refugees, people with low incomes, and limited English-proficient individuals.”

An e-scooter pilot program was also recently enacted in King County’s North Highline neighborhood, including White Center. The new electric scooters are operated by Lime, which has tested both bike and carshare programs in Seattle over the past few years. It is still possible to ride if you don’t have a smartphone or credit card. Just contact Lime to learn about its discounted program for qualified riders.

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Seattle inches closer to e-scooter pilot program, with focus on West Seattle, BIPOC neighborhoods