The pilot phase of Seattle’s scooter share program has reached the end of the road and three companies have been selected to continue putting their micromobility devices on city streets, the Seattle Department of Transportation announced Thursday.
After a review process, operation permits for 2022-23 have been issued to Link (by Superpedestrian), Lime and Bird. The companies will be allowed to deploy up to 2,000 electric scooters each.
Bird is a new entry in the mix. The company operates in more than 400 cities and according to SDOT, will be bringing their newest third generation of scooters to Seattle, which “offer a safer ride and longer battery life than earlier models.”
Bird also said it plans to bring its newly unveiled Bird Visual Parking System (VPS) technology to Seattle. Previously piloted in a handful of cities including New York, San Diego and San Francisco, VPS is intended to help with more organized scooter parking and keep sidewalks clear.
Link and Lime already operated during the pilot phase, which saw increased adoption of the transportation option. According to a recent report, 260,000 riders took over 1.4 million scooter trips from October 2020 through September 2021.
Wheels and Spin also operated during the pilot, but did not make the cut for the new permits. SDOT said the two companies will have a few weeks to wind down their operations and transfer their fleets to other cities.
SDOT said the permit review process featured “robust proposals” and that commitment to safety, community engagement, and continual improvement, as well as considering the needs of other people traveling on streets, sidewalks, bike paths, and trails was considered.
Lime, which has been upgrading its fleet, will continue to offer pedal-assist electric bicycles in addition to scooters. Veo will also continue to offer their Cosmo e-bikes, and later this year Link will begin offering seated-style scooters in addition to the standing scooters.