It’s unclear when—if ever—free-floating electric scooters will be allowed in Seattle, but to the south, Tacoma is giving them a try.
Late last week, Lime launched free-floating electric bikes and scooters in the City of Destiny as part of a two-month pilot, Geekwire reports. Lime currently operates both electric and standard pedal bikes in Seattle—but Tacoma’s fleet is all-electric, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.
Lime is starting out with 250 scooters and 100 e-bikes. After the first two months, Tacoma officials will make the call about how to move forward.
According to the city’s information page on Lime’s rollout, scooters are allowed on sidewalks, roads, alleys, and shoulders, but not in bike lanes, trails, or pedestrian-only paths. The e-bikes are allowed anywhere “conventional bicycles” are allowed, including sidewalks.
In exchange for peddling the vehicles in the city, Lime will pay Tacoma fees of $28.44 per bike and $14.22 per scooter for the 60-day duration of the pilot, according to Lime’s permit with the city. During Seattle’s pilot, operating fees were $15 per bike for the duration of the pilot; now that Seattle has implemented a long-term program, permitting fees are $50 per bike per year.
Lime will be allowed to launch up to 250 scooters and 250 bikes, which may be adjusted in either direction depending on ridership. The pilot can be extended for 30 days at a time at the city’s discretion.
Rather than write its own set of rules, Tacoma opted to start with Seattle’s rules—literally, “Lime will operate in Tacoma in full conformity with the Seattle Department of Transportation free-floating bike share permit requirements—and carve out exceptions. That means the rules for things like safety standards, service levels, and parking (park in the “landscape/furniture” zone of the sidewalk or at a bicycle rack) are the same.
“In a recent visit to Copenhagen, I saw firsthand how bikes can be a vital part of effective transportation systems while reducing household costs and providing recreation
opportunities,” said said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards in a statement. “A short trial will provide the City with a great deal of information on how bike share works in Tacoma. Watching this process will tell us what role bike share should play in our city in the future. I look forward to hearing from our community on their experience with this new kind of business.”
“We’re committed to improving and simplifying access to non-vehicular transportation choices for everyone,” added said Isaac Gross, general manager for Lime in Washington State. “This means Tacoma residents now have a broader set of inexpensive last-mile mobility options from which to choose.”
- They’re here: Lime bikes take to the streets — and sidewalks — of Tacoma [TNT]
- Lime launching scooter and e-bike pilot in Tacoma, while scooter share is still banned in nearby Seattle [Geekwire]
- Bike Share [City of Tacoma]
This article has been updated with statements from Victoria Woodwards and Lime.