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Seattle invites fourth scooter share company, tests new parking strategies

New scooter and bike share parking at Alki Beach. (Photo courtesy of SDOT)

The city of Seattle launched a scooter share pilot program last fall, and is now inviting a fourth provider.

Seattle council gives final approval to e-scooter pilot program

Spin will be that fourth provider, and it is completing the permit process now. A micromobility provider backed by the Ford Motor Company, Spin already operates in a number of cities and at universities across the United States and Europe. Spin will be authorized to operate up to 1,000 scooters in Seattle, but expects to start small with a fleet focused in West Seattle.

To help with an ongoing problem, the new fleet will have intelligent sensors to encourage people to park the scooters correctly and to ride safely, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation.

SDOT adds that the city is also working with all four scooter companies operating in Seattle — Spin, Lime, Link, and Wheel — to test a new parking hub at West Seattle’s Alki Beach using GPS technology to address bad scooter and bike parking.

The city has installed 3,000 new bike and scooter parking spaces in the past five years, SDOT says, to help address the parking problems. There are also videos that show people how to park correctly and requirements for scooter companies to include clear instructions within their apps. Plus, SDOT says the city has made it easier for people to report bad parking.

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Since the start of the scooter program, SDOT says there have been over 600,000 rides. Ridership started at about 5,000 trips a week in fall and winter, but exceeded 30,000 trips per week in June.

All scooter companies, as a requirement to operate in Seattle, must offer free or reduced-fare programs for people with low incomes. Anyone who is eligible for income-based food, transit, rent or utility assistance programs can apply for the program on each scooter company’s website.

Lime and Link also offered free rides to vaccine appointments and for essential workers. Spin offers five free 30-minute rides each day for health care workers through their Everyday Heroes program.

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