I was amazed.  Having not been in Seattle for a few months, I didn’t realize what was happening with bike share – until I saw this:
Bikeshare seattle (1)
And then this:

They’re Spin and Lime Bikes – two of three bikeshare companies that have, since July, started business in Seattle as private-sector initiatives after the failure of the city-subsidized Pronto system.  They don’t need docking stations; they’re just standing there – free floating – waiting for a rider to come by and unlock them with a phone.
Seattle Bike Blog provides the details here.
Within the downtown and inner neighbourhoods, they’re everywhere.

There’s a third one too – ofo, which is China-based (where all the GPS-enabled bikes come from, by the thousands). Apparently they’re doing pretty well, according to the Seattle Bike Blog, (though no one I talked to could figure out the economic model):

Free-floating bike share is working in Seattle. Or at least it sure appears that way according to the city’s first analysis of anonymized private bike share data.
In just two months, people have already taken 120,000 trips on the bikes. And because companies are steadily increasing the number of bikes on the streets, the number of rides each day continues to grow at a steep rate. 6,000 bikes are currently permitted, but SDOT’s Kyle Rowe told the Committee that he estimates the actual number on the ground now is closer to 4,000 and increasingly daily.

“Mobike (a China-based bike share giant that rivals ofo), Spin and LimeBike,” according to the blog, “are launching in Washington DC. …”  So, if they’re successful, is it just a matter of time before they arrive in Vancouver?
Will they displace Mobi or – like Car2Go and Evo compared to MoDo – will they complement each other, grow the market, add choice, and, once again, frustrate those who can’t believe that cycling is really a serious option and why do we need those damn bike lanes anyway …


  1. Key to their success is the 1 $ per ride (max .5 – 1 hr) pricing approach. Likely more attractive for most than the current MOBI subscription approach. This may be more of a factor than the “dockless” approach.
    Ron Richings

  2. This will be very well received in the Downtown East Side.
    Like Uber the approval from the City and the City wanting their ‘piece’, will take about 10 years.

  3. I think this new technology has the capability to displace traditional bike share types like Mobi. I’ve used the UBicycles in Victoria and am very impressed. There are some huge advantages to not needing docks.

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