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Spin bike share announces departure from Seattle

Like Ofo, Spin noted high permit costs as a reason for leaving

Courtesy of Spin

And then there was Lime: Spin, the first company to launch shared bikes in Seattle, has confirmed to Curbed Seattle that it will not be applying for a bike-share permit under new rules from the Seattle Department of Transportation. Like with Ofo, which also recently announced its bikes wouldn’t be returning, a Spin spokesperson cited high permit fees as a deciding factor.

While this means a departure from Seattle for now, a Spin spokesperson noted that the company is focusing more fully on electric scooters—and if the city ever allows those, it might come back. “[T]hese vehicles generate more than 20 times the consumer demand than that of bikes,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We have since made the decision to focus on bringing scooters, and other forms of pedal-less electric mobility, to our markets around the country.”

“As SDOT formulated the new permit rules, we had hoped the requirements would allow scooters,” the statement continued. “We also expressed our concerns about the proposed requirement that all operators pay a flat fee of $250,000.”

The fee, which is based on a 5,000 fleet size, breaks down to about $50 per bike. The flat fee only applies if four operators are operating simultaneously—otherwise, SDOT just charges that per-bike amount.

“Spin has been proud to serve Seattle, our first city, since July 2017,” said the spokesperson. We have been particularly grateful to the city for welcoming us to the community and for pioneering the dockless mobility trend with us in the United States.”

A spokesperson didn’t immediately return a request for comment on a specific departure date, although permits expire in September—so likely later this month. (We’re getting some anecdotal reports of fewer Spin bikes on the street already.)

With two companies leaving the city, that leaves only one company, Lime, that has confirmed it’s going for the new permit. Uber-owned electric bike-share operation Jump has already applied for a permit, according to spokesperson Nathan Hambley.

“If Jump is granted a permit, we will work hard to bring bikes to Seattle as quickly as possible, likely starting in the fall,” said Hambley.

This story has been updated with more information about Jump and a statement from Uber.