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Limebike debuts cash payments with no smartphone required

They hope to address an accessibility barrier

Sarah Anne Lloyd

In Seattle bike-share programs past and present, there’s been a major barrier to equity: Requiring credit cards or smartphones for the program to function.

While others have talked about it, Limebike is the first Seattle share to attempt to break through the credit card barrier—and the first of the new, dockless bike shares in the city to roll out cash payments.

Starting today, those without credit cards can load up their account with cash at Limebike’s office near Gas Works Park at 3625 Interlake Avenue North. They’ll leave with an unlocked bike. After loading up their account at the office, the user can call Limebike to unlock a bike anywhere.

Limebike says they’re working on additional cash payment locations with community partners.

Cash payment can be accepted in $5, $10, or $20 increments, or for Lime Prime, which gets a user 100 rides a month for $29.95. Pay-as-you-go rates for rides are $1 (or 50 cents for students) for half an hour.

“Bike sharing is all about accessibility,” said Limebike CEO Tony Sun in a statement, “so not having a smartphone or access to credit or debit cards shouldn’t bar someone from our solution to urban mobility.”

He added that the feature will be available in all cities where they operate.

Spin co-founder Derrick Ko previously told Curbed Seattle that they’re also working on solutions for those without credit cards or smartphones. We’ve reached out to see how that’s coming along.

Ko said that accessibility and equity are among their “core values,” and said they’re “working on a solution that empowers everyone, in all neighborhoods” to use their bikes without smartphones and credit cards, too.

This article has been updated with comments from Spin.