Spokane is taking funds from its Lime scooter program and putting it back into city infrastructure projects that intend to increase safety and efficiency. The scooter program has been a success in the eyes of the city leaders, and they hope to capitalize on that to make the program better and the city more ride-share friendly.
In May of 2019, Lime, a California-based ride share company reintroduced their ebikes and electric scooter to the city of Spokane almost 7 months after the pilot program ended. The new rollout went well and coincided with some new rules for Lime scooters. The city passed an ordinance that got scooters off the sidewalks an onto the streets, and it gave the scooters an exemption from the required helmet rule which purportedly became a hinderance for many scooter users.
Reinvesting City Funds
Under the new contract with Lime, the city gets 75 cents for every Lime vehicle, which includes Lime’s ebikes as well. The revenue for the first year is projected to be over $50,000. The city saw this an opportunity to make some much needed changes to the downtown riding experience hoping that the payoff will be in an increase in scooter usage and fewer accidents and injuries.
The money will go to the construction of ebike an scooter and ebike parking zones and signage that reminds scooter users to stay off the sidewalks and to engage in proper riding etiquette.
Uptrend in Ridership
Since the May relaunch of both ebikes and scooter, ridership is up higher than projections which bodes well for the city’s new ride-share infrastructure program. In just a couple of months, Lime users have logged 200,000 rids and 240,000 miles of traveled on the scooters alone.
The relaunch is given credit for some of this success. City leaders say that it went much better than the pilot launch. The city was better prepared and Lime did a better job of getting people on the street to assist with riders who needed help. This helped Lime scooters to log twice as many rides in the first month than they did in the pilot.
If this continues, then more funds will be generated to build even more upgrades that will hopefully continue to make the program safer and more organized. One issue that the city hopes will be addressed with these new funds is the complaints by pedestrians and business of scooters being dropped and abandoned all over the sidewalks, alley ways and storefront.
With the new proposed parking zones, the city hopes that Lime will offer an incentive to users in the form of discounts to return the scooters to designated parking and drop off zones. This will go a long way to make the program workable for all groups that live and work in the downtown region.