After inviting nine scooter share companies to apply to Seattle’s scooter-share program, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has selected their three top picks: Link, Wheels, and Lime Scooters.
Much like Jump bike share, the free-floating scooters will be available for anyone who downloads an app.
The City is hoping that this additional mode of transport will be another way for people to get around safely and sustainably, in addition to the trains, bikes, and buses already available.
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SDOT has permitted the three companies to operate only 500 scooters each, with the potential to grow to 2,000 scooters each in the future.
“These companies may start renting scooters once they have agreed to and completed all the permit requirements, and taken care of any other business like hiring local staff and getting their fleet of scooters ready to ride,” stated SDOT in a press release. “If a company isn’t able to meet the City’s conditions in a timely manner, we’ll offer that permit to a competitive runner-up. We expect this’ll take several weeks, or faster if a company is ready to act quickly.”
SDOT worked with medical experts at the University of Washington and Public Health – Seattle and King County to build the scooter-share pilot around pedestrian and rider safety. They’ve required companies to build safer scooters that have a built-in speed limit cap of 8 mph on a first ride and 15 mph after that, as well as ensure that people have access to helmets. Several scooters will include seats, for those with mobility impairments.
The scooter-share programs are required to provide reduced-rate plans for those in low-income communities, as well as be available to those without a cell phone, bank account, or credit card.