Lime said this week that it won’t be renewing its bike-share permit with Bellevue, ending a yearlong pilot program that brought hundreds of the company’s green electric-assisted bikes to the Eastside city.
Bellevue’s e-bike pilot program launched in July 2018 and was extended through the fall. Lime deployed 400 e-bikes throughout the city, though most were concentrated in downtown Bellevue, where white boxes were painted on some sidewalks to denote them as “bike hubs.”
A Lime spokesman said Wednesday that the company is focusing much of its market on scooters, rather than free-floating bikes and e-bikes. It’s possible the city and Lime could partner in the future with other modes of transportation, the spokesman added.
Both the city and company described the partnership as a positive experience.
Several bike-share companies initially expressed interest in Bellevue, but Lime was the only operator to apply for a permit, the city said. Lime reimbursed Bellevue for costs associated with the project, such as installing the bike hubs. During the pilot program, more than 9,000 people took 40,000 trips on e-bikes in Bellevue, according to Bellevue Transportation spokesman David Grant. About half those trips started or ended in downtown Bellevue, but riders used the bikes “in every corner of the city, every day of the year,” Grant said.
An online survey collecting feedback from Bellevue residents will run through Saturday, Grant said. The transportation department plans to revise its permit conditions should any bike-share operator express interest in the future. The goal for 2020 will remain the same as the pilot, he added: make bikes available, keep city sidewalks and public spaces accessible and minimize impacts to parks and private property.
“Overall, we’ve learned a tremendous amount about bike share through the pilot,” Grant said.
In Seattle, Lime operates a bike-share program and may bring scooters to the city by next year. Lime and Jump, another operator, deploy about 5,000 bikes total. The company announced in September that it would shut down its car-rental service, with plans to remove all 500 green-and-white Fiats by the end of the year. Outside Seattle, Lime has expanded to Bothell, Everett, Spokane and Tacoma.
Other cities are running bike-share and scooter-share pilots with Lime. Redmond’s, for example, runs through May 2020.