[CLARIFICATION 7/15/19: anecdotal evidence suggests that most people are quoted a rate of 25 cents a minute.]

Last week, frequent commenter asdf2 made an important observation:

sounderbruce/Flickr

On another note, the per-minute price to ride a Lime bike has now gone up again to $0.30/min., exactly double what it was just 6 weeks ago. Assuming 6-8 minutes per mile (which is about as good as you expect for a route with stoplights), this translates into a marginal cost of $1.50-$2.10 for each additional mile traveled – a figure that is now *higher* than the marginal cost per mile riding in a Lyft or Uber car with a paid driver.

(I don’t know if Jump has matched this price increase or not, as neither their website nor their app discloses their prices).

At the moment, Lime bikes are still able to compete with Lyft Uber on price for trips that are extremely short (since Lyft and Uber charge a minimum fare of about $5/trip), but the new rates seem to suggest that Lime has completely lost interest in attracting business from anybody riding more than about 2 miles or so at a time (except for tourists who specifically want the bike experience and don’t care how much they spend to get it).

When the Seattle city council voted to allow Lime bikes on the city streets, you could rent pedal bikes for $1/30 minutes, and travel as much as 4+ miles in those 30 minutes under favorable conditions (e.g. along the Burke-Gilman trail). I don’t think anybody expected that within 2 years, a trip by rental bike would cost as much as doing the same trip in what is effectively a taxi. As a certain point, one has to question whether, at these prices, the service is still providing enough of a public benefit to justify the hassles involved with improperly parked bikes.

Should future renewal contracts come with language limiting how much these companies can charge? Or, do these price increases means that Lime is running out of venture capital money and is about to go under? Will Seattle find itself back to having no bikeshare within a few months?

This is more acute for “carshare,” at $1 plus 45 cents/minute, while a car, in general, will require less time to get there.

As bikes are way cheaper than cars, either the bikeshare companies are making a killing, or the various alternative ways of using a car are in more financial trouble than we realize.

Some forecasters thought these models meant transit was obsolete. More realistic observers suggested they could get transit out of the business of inefficient last-mile connections in low-density and non-gridded street patterns.

But if the business model is collapsing, then neither will come to pass. In any case, it appears that our brief biketopia of easy last-mile trips for negligible cost is gone for at least a long while. That is regrettable.

61 Replies to “Comment of the day: bikeshare”

  1. We need a Pronto 2.0, with docks only along corridors conducive to frequent use and less concern about an ‘equitable’ and inefficient distribution across the city.

    1. Pronto was never equitable. The stations were based on where the sponsors wanted them.

  2. A friend of mine said he rode from downtown to dinner in Ravenna and back, and it set him back $30. Why would you choose that?

  3. Car2Go changed their fee structure a few days ago and emailed me that it had done so. I don’t understand why Lime and Jump cannot do the same.

  4. “…the various alternative ways of using a car are in more financial trouble than we realize.”

    Uber and Lyft each lost more than one billion dollars in the last full fiscal year. This is a mind-boggling amount of money. And the self-driving car which is their supposed savior, is always “five years away”. Anyone willing to actually look at the facts can see that this business model will collapse.

  5. “Some forecasters thought these models meant transit was obsolete.”

    Transit is subsidized. If taxpayers were paying 70% of your operating costs and all of your capital/maintenance costs, then you could have lower fares too.

    Where transit wins is it’s more efficient and takes up less space per person, so it can scale to a city of 200,000 or 750,000 or 10 million. If we had that many bikes around we’d have bicycle traffic jams, and leaving bikes on the sidewalk wouldn’t work at all. The people who say “transit is obsolete” don’t think about that, and have internalized the inefficiencies of car culture and how that has pushed everything apart.

    1. The spatial case is absolutely transit’s winning argument. The fact is a bus or train just carries exponential more people than the same space for cars.

  6. I’ve thought at length about what a Pronto 2.0 would look like.

    1) Shrink the service area. I don’t think city-wide service is possible without bleeding money. If I were picking the service area, I would have it mostly follow the trails. For instance, I would include downtown, SLU, Lower Queen Anne, the Westlake corridor to Fremont, the Burke-Gilman corridor from the Ballard Locks to the U-Village (including UW Link Station), plus a satallite corridor along the Alki Beach Trail in West Seattle. I would have the service area stick to flat linear trail corridors as much as possible, and keep the stations as close to the trail grade as possible.

    Unfortunately, a smaller service area would mean less ridership, and in order to make sense financially, it would not pass Sawant’s “equability” test (e.g. Rainier Valley would be left out, sorry). Which means the city council would likely never authorize such a plan in the first place…

    2) Keep the stations as cheap as possible, so you can have more of them. Eliminate the kiosks altogether, in favor of mobile apps to lock and unlock the bikes, instead. I would also use virtual docks, where you simply paint in the parking areas, and use wheel locks on the bikes. I think Minneapolis already does this.

    3) Pay attention to details when locating the stations. When possible, bikeshare stations should be clearly visible from the trails that users of the shared bikes are expected to ride on, with no vertical gaps between the trail and the station (especially those that would require lugging a bike up or down stairs). Pronto had too many cases where their stations along the Burke-Gilman corridor were tucked away out of sight, and required a lot of time and effort to get to.

    In many cases, the space for proper, trail-level bikeshare stations could be created simply by clearing away blackberry bushes.

    4) Keep re-balancing to an absolute minimum. A system where every bike trip requires a car trip to shuttle the bike back to its original location is inherently going to lose money unless each and every bikeshare trip costs as much as an Uber ride. Obviously, some sort of ground crew is going to be necessary to replace or repair broken bikes, but if the service is to be affordable, expecting a bike to always be available at the most popular locations at all times, is not reasonable. If there are particular stations where bikes tend to cluster at, and never move, they should simply remove those stations from the service area altogether, rather than pay people to keep hauling the bikes around in trucks.

    5) Choose the right pricing system. Ideally, you want a combination of low barrier to entry, sustainable recurring revenue, and higher per-day prices for tourists than for locals. I would also seek to integrate the bikeshare system with the Orca system, and give people a break when transferring between bikeshare and regular public transit.

    I’m still undecided about e-bikes vs. pedal bikes. E-bikes can go faster, but if the service area is confined largely to flat trails, they feel unnecessary. My thought is to go with e-bikes, but have users do the charging as much as possible. For example, maybe if you finish a trip with a low battery, you get coupons for a future ride if you take out the battery, plug it in overnight, and return the battery to the bike by a certain time the following morning.

    1. It’s weird to attack just one Councilmember for focusing on equity, because that’s the written policy of Seattle city government. https://www.seattle.gov/rsji

      I agree with making core service good, but there’s nothing wrong with subsidizing the system at a larger, more inclusive scale like we do with transit. The only thing holding us back is the funding source, and I know a guy with a few billion lying around.

      1. Some say there is something wrong with subsidizing the system. There are those that say getting low income people and people of color hooked on an ever growing number of subsidies, is chaining them to poverty, which isn’t an act of compassion, it’s an act of hate and racism. It’s the quiet bigotry of low expectations.

      2. Some say there is something wrong with subsidizing the system. There are those that say getting low income people and people of color hooked on an ever growing number of subsidies, is chaining them to poverty, which isn’t an act of compassion, it’s an act of hate and racism. It’s the quiet bigotry of low expectations.

        Nice try zombie Reagan!

    2. Or, I don’t know, do what the science suggests, which is to have a large coverage area with high station density. It really isn’t that complicated. There is no reason to think we are that different than other cities, that have very good docked bike share systems.

      Oh, and it should be operated by the city, and we should expect it to be subsidized (just as transit is subsidized). Again, that is what other cities do. One of the many flaws with our current system is the naive belief that big corporations will provide wonderful transportation options for us at a very low cost. That really isn’t how the world works.

      1. City-operated subsidized bikeshare with high station density sounds great to me! Extra bonus points if it takes Orca cards for free transfers to other transit. Seems silly that I would have to spend more to ride a bike to Link than to ride a bus to Link, when a bus is way more expensive than a bike.

    3. “2) Keep the stations as cheap as possible, so you can have more of them. Eliminate the kiosks altogether, in favor of mobile apps to lock and unlock the bikes, instead. I would also use virtual docks, where you simply paint in the parking areas, and use wheel locks on the bikes. I think Minneapolis already does this.”

      Totally agree with this idea. It is easy and cheap to paint the sidewalks to create “docks” and in fact, that’s basically what Bellevue did. The key here is you would have to put bike parking zones just about everywhere that there is enough space to park bikes. Most people will not use bikeshare if they have to park the bikes in places that require more than a 1-2 minute walk to their final destination.

      The other vexing issue is bike helmets. It is unfortunate but bike helmet laws simply cannot be enforced with bikeshare. Most current bikeshare users are not going to start carrying helmets and if you require bikeshare companies to provide helmets it will kill any hope of profitability.

      1. The other vexing issue is bike helmets. It is unfortunate but bike helmet laws simply cannot be enforced with bikeshare. Most current bikeshare users are not going to start carrying helmets and if you require bikeshare companies to provide helmets it will kill any hope of profitability.

        Bikeshare usage seems to be doing just fine with our current helmet laws. It’s very clearly not the helmet laws that are killing their profitability. That was a weak anti-helmet argument in the Pronto days, it was a weak argument in the early days of floating bikeshare and it’s a weak argument now.

      2. The only reason why people are still using bikeshare with our current helmet laws is that they are enforced, and everyone knows they are unenforced.

        Of we started enforcing them, bikeshare usage would drop dramatically, since people aren’t going to carry helmets with them everywhere they go, just in case they want to hop on a bikeshare bike.

      3. The only reason why people are still using bikeshare with our current helmet laws is that they are enforced, and everyone knows they are unenforced.

        On the flip side, Seattle bikers using their own bikes have helmet compliance rates that blow other cities out of the water. Have to give some credit to the helmet law for that.

        Seems like the current system is working, so why change it?

    4. The core of the city is around Lake Union, so this makes sense. I’d extend it a little east to Broadway via Pike-Pine, which is the flattest way up the hill. Pedal bikes are the way to go; it makes no sense to drive up the cost with e-bikes. Prices would have to be regulated and subsidies added to reach a $2/hour price point. Otherwise you can’t make 5-mile trips like downtown to the U-District or Fremont, which is the only kind of trip some people would use a bikeshare for.

      Rainier Valley would be a good place for a bikeshare because it’s long, flat, and lower-income, with businesses and multifamily apartments all along it that people go to all day. The hill up to 12th & Jackson isn’t that bad, but then the hills to Pioneer Square, Broadway, and Midtown are much worse. Maybe the way to deal with that is two relatively independent service areas (although I’d still allow people to ride between them).

    5. I just got an ebike 2 weeks ago. Terrain is no limitation. I haven’t tried it up Seattle hills, but I have tried it on the hills of the Kent Valley with success.

      Pedal Assist generally gives you better results than frequent recharging. Lion batteries have a finite number of charges.

  7. I was just talking to someone about this the other day. This is so Seattle. We ignore what other cities do. We ignore the science. Then we fail. When we fail we blame it on something that we think makes us unique. We then go out and do something a little different — something new. Others point out that the new thing has a lot of flaws, and will likely struggle. We ignore those naysayers, and try it. Things seem great initially, but after a while the expected problems materialize. We are bummed. But wait! There is something new again. These have issues as well, but who cares. Bring on scooters!

    Meanwhile, cities that actually have good bike share systems — cities roughly our size (like Boston and Portland) just laugh at us. It really isn’t that complicated. Dockless bikes are expensive to manage. You have to chase around and collect all the bikes, scattered everywhere. Electric bikes are also expensive. It was obvious that Lime was losing a fortune, and they got tired of it.

    In contrast, docked systems work in cities like Boston, and have for years. But to work well, you need lots of stations and a wide coverage area. Pronto failed at both. Yet when it failed, people ignored the science, and suggested that bike share would never work here. Somehow we have too many hills (unlike San Fransisco) or bad weather (unlike winters in Boston). The one good thing that has come out of the dockless system is the recognition that bike share can work in this city. We should just stop pretending that we are a tiny town, and spend the extra money to do it right. That means docks — lots and lots of docks.

    1. Lots of docks, but also adding a feature like Portland’s Biketown that allows docking with no dock at a slight price increase.

      There are currently 225 bikes outside docks, so it can be a useful feature.

      1. This makes the most sense to me, as it encourages people to park at the lower maintenance docks while giving people the flexibility to park elsewhere if they need. Plus it gives the city hard data on where people want to put docks — if a bunch of people are willing to pay to park in a certain area, that’s probably a good location for one. I’d even argue that parking at a dock should make a (reasonable length) trip free, and that parking elsewhere should be free with an ORCA transfer.

        A city-owned system tied into next-gen ORCA has a lot of potential, making mixed bike-transit trips more appealing.

      2. Yeah, that is a good approach until they can ramp up the system (add a lot more docks outside the small core).

    2. “Dockless bikes are expensive to manage.”

      There’s no evidence that dockless shares are significantly more expensive than docked shares, or that the price increases have anything to do with the unique costs of a dockless system. If dockless systems were so expensive, then presumably the companies wouldn’t have launched them in the first place.

      “We ignore what other cities do. We ignore the science. Then we fail. When we fail we blame it on something that we think makes us unique.”

      This is a problem in the entire US. We don’t take seriously the solutions other countries have found, and when we do it’s only English-speaking countries.

      The reason behind it is partly that it’s lower-density suburban-ish communities arguing for their own interests, and a feeling that car priority is what makes the US better than other countries and makes their solutions irrelevant.

      1. If dockless systems were so expensive, then presumably the companies wouldn’t have launched them in the first place.

        I can think of three reasons why companies launched in this environment:

        1) They figured they would raise the prices eventually. Sure enough, this has happened. Put it another way — if dockless systems aren’t so expensive, why does Lime charge so much?

        2) They were in it for the data. This is a model that is used by many companies all over the world. Most fail. A lot of them get venture capital, or they go public and they get shareholders to buy into the hype. It is very similar to a lot of businesses in the dot com era (remember Pets.Com?).

        3) They hoped there would be a very cheap market for people willing to move the bikes around. Perhaps Seattle labor is simply proving too expensive for them, what with the $15 an hour minimum wage, and full employment. Even without standard employment practices (i. e. treating each bike mover as a subcontractor) it is still too expensive.

        This is a problem in the entire US. We don’t take seriously the solutions other countries have found, and when we do it’s only English-speaking countries.

        Right, but in this case we ignored what other U. S. cities do. We are not unique in this failing, but it seems to happen more to us than a lot of cities, and is likely due to our relative isolation.

      2. “if dockless systems aren’t so expensive, why does Lime charge so much?”

        Because it can.

      3. Maybe the reduced competition from companies dropping out due to the new regulations by the city played a role?

    3. With a docked system, allow an ORCA card to be used as payment to unlock a bike from the dock. Tap ORCA again upon return to pay fare, like on LINK or Sounder.

      1. That would be difficult because every dock would need an ORCA reader, and those are expensive and single-vendor and we’re about to switch to ORCA2 soon. No private bikeshare company would want to pay for them. Plus they’d have to communicate with the transit data network. RapidRide and Link readers are wired into the network (which Metro installs along RapidRide lines), It’s not clear that they can just be hooked up to any wireless carrier’s internet feed.

    4. This is so Seattle. We ignore what other cities do. We ignore the science. Then we fail. When we fail we blame it on something that we think makes us unique.

      Perhaps this is why Scott Kubly’s name keeps showing up. Don’t know the guy and hey, we’re all just trying to make a living; but… I’m more interested in the Seattle Political establishment that keeps diverting tax dollars to… what/who? These are “expensive failures” to taxpayers but they are also a windfall to those getting the public $$$.

      That said, the big $$$ are the venture capitalists that have recently exited stage left to cash in on scams that never had a snowballs chance in hell. Might that money have “greased the skids”?

  8. JUMP also increased their prices. It’s now 25 cents/mile. It will be interesting to see what happens with the higher prices. Unfortunate for sure because I have seen the growing use of bikeshare, especially along SLU and the Westlake trail. I am curious how many people currently using bikeshare will start using their own bikes. That’s what I do now.

    1. I assume you meant 25c/minute, as 25c/mile would be dirt cheap compared to Lime. Unless you can ride 60 mph anyway…

    2. I am curious how many people currently using bikeshare will start using their own bikes.

      What a concept! Seriously, nobody is really going to use a bike to any great degree without owning one that; A) fits them & B)fits the use they need.

      Bike share, other than tourists and a very limited local use is a starter drug.

      And for areas where it makes sense you just buy cheap bikes, paint them an obnoxious color (like at Bezerkly) and call it a day. No capitalist pig intervention required.

      1. Well, maybe I’m a nobody. I’ve used them a bit, even though I ride my own bike every day, for those one-way trips where I don’t want to deal with my bike or arrive sweaty and transit doesn’t work by itself. The JUMP bikes are far superior to Lime in design and pretty well-made. The seats are easy to adjust and posts are marked so if you use again you know what height to set them at. The batteries are also lower on the frame so not as top-heavy. A ten minute ride can get you pretty far, up to two miles, with very little sweat, good for last-mile needs in combination with transit. The new pricing will probably limit me fewer rides though.

      2. I’m apparently a nobody, too. I was one of Pronto’s top users, and I used Lime a lot before the price increase. The price increase is making me reconsider bringing my folding bike back downtown to my office for when I might need to ride somewhere. It’s been in storage since I started using the Lime-E frequently after I brought it in after Pronto’s demise.

  9. Why do we need physical docks? Just use geofences. It was clearly a bad idea to allow the bikes to be parked anywhere, there are way too many vandalism opportunities. I recently saw a pike of red and green twisted metal that used to be about 10 bikes before they were thrown 150 feet off of a bridge. If a particular geofence is prone to vandalism you simply delete it. If all the bikes are stored in well-lit areas with security cameras there is a far lower chance of them being destroyed. Hold users accountable who do not park the bikes properly.

    Second, e-bikes are too expensive with too many moving parts. Clearly there needs to be a transition to scooters which are more resilient to being knocked over and can be picked up with any vehicle.

    Third, the city shouldn’t be skimming $250,000 off a transportation mode that they should probably be subsidizing.

    I’m hoping that the imminent death of free-floating bikeshare is used as an opportunity to improve, rather than an opportunity to place blame and finger-point. It was a fun experiment and we are better off for having been a part of it.

  10. Could this be because Lime is mostly a scooter company now? There is no mention of bicycles on the lime website.

    Seattle is now essentially getting a very specialized service, whereas their other cities are scooter based. This means they probably aren’t working as hard to make the economics of Seattle’s bike share work anymore.

    The other factor might be the E-bikes. When the service started, it was very cheap ($1 for 30 minutes?), but the bicycles were very cheap. I haven’t ridden one recently, but it sounds like they switched to more expensive e-bikes?

    Personally, I was really excited for bike share bicycles, but when I actually tried to ride them, I found the gears tended to slip, and the bicycles are weirdly tiny. I’m 6’2″ and the lime bikes were like riding a child’s bike. By comparison, I found the pronto bikes to be pretty decent and well maintained. The main problem was the network was tiny, and the pricing structure was poorly thought out.

  11. Some sort of electric powered device could be useful to me, from the E bus on Aurora up the hill to Greenwood – less than half a mile. I could easily cope with something that only went 6-8 mph. But I would need to be guaranteed a device at my Aurora bus stop. It would need to cost less than a dollar, preferably 50 cents. And I would need to be able to leave it on Greenwood within a block or two of my residence. My suspicion is this is not economically feasible.

    1. I wouldn’t even pay 50 cents, as walking is free, no hassle or fumbling with phone apps, and my quads and hamstrings could use the workout, and my Apple watch activity monitor will praise me.

      I’d only really use them for occasional 1-3 mile trips where the transit options are not good. But because of the price structure, daily commuting use would seem to get expensive real quick.

      1. (sarcasm alert) So a gold star for you. Several of those blocks are pretty steep and perhaps not all people are up to a 10 minute climb and the end of a long day.

      2. Sarcasm aside, this is a reason why I keep mentioning inclines or funiculars as a last mile strategy. The level boarding at each end is great for bicycles (as well as strollers, luggage and those with canes and wheelchairs). Seattle is often a three-dimensional trip-making challenge. For example, Pioneer Square to Harborview aerial incline would likely significantly increase the bicycle track use of both Second Avenue and Broadway big-time (as well as give First Hill a virtual Link station within just a few short years).

        I feel like a lone voice pushing on this. It’s not as sexy as a long light-rail tunnel or as in-your-face as a protected bicycle lane, but for dense situations it would be very useful.

      3. I just spent a year and a half walking up the Yesler Way hill from Link multiple times a day, often from my place up further to Harborview to catch the UW shuttles and go to the cathedral, so YMMV;)

  12. We must understand that this is a marketplace in its infancy. The bike rental business was sold as a marketplace solution. Similarly, Lyft and Uber are new marketplace solutions. It’s an application of smart phone technology.

    Any new marketplace typically involves shake outs as eventually the companies have to show reasonable profit. We don’t yet know where the optimum price point is. It’s a function of convenience, effort and travel time of each possible mode.

    Finally, I think most bicycle users prefer to own their own bicycles. This is a niche market and not an indictment of bicycling in general.

    Finally, I expect the marketplace to eventually house bicycle rentals in local businesses — supermarkets, pharmacies, even service stations. The model of unattended bicycles needing occasional maintenance seems less doable in the long run to me; a Safeway bicycle rental program could reward shoppers with free or cheap rentals home if the shopper spent a certain amount, for example. It’s much harder to make it attractive as a stand-alone business.

    1. That would be a vast improvement over the present state. I am unwilling to yield public space, especially sidewalk space, to private enterprise. The litter and non-car traffic obstructions are unacceptable, and an example of the worst kind of public-private “partnership”. But you take that mess in put in a private business? Now we’re taljing about something at least acceptable.

    2. For tourists and business/conference travelers, the math changes quite a bit as most people don’t travel with their bikes, guided tours are expensive and annoying, and constantly calling Uber/Lyft gets old real quick. Of course, the set up hassle and/or fees and credit card deposits can deter some travelers (this is actually what tends to deter me when I travel, so I tend to just go for a run instead). There’s transit too, but I get the sense most travelers are going to be OK with taking trains and perhaps BRT (maybe even RapidRide), but not the regular local busses.

      1. For visitors staying overnight, wouldn’t a partnership with their hotel or AirBNB work more seamlessly for many or most local trip making with bikeshare?

  13. This bubble may burst soon, the city is wise to not get into this business. No Pronto2.0! It should continue to collect permit fees, however.

    1. I think the point is that it may be better to treat it as an extension of the city’s subsidized transit system not as a “business.” At NYC density or South Beach Miami or Waikiki levels of tourism it can be profitable, but we’re not quite there.

  14. Good thing we diverted that money from Pronto to build…the 4th Avenue bike lane.

  15. I tried out Jump for the first time recently, but it must have been right after they switched the price to $0.25/min because my receipt was sure a lot higher than I expected it to be. My casual 30 minute ride ended up being nearly $10, which is more than I’m willing to pay for a bike rental (even if it is electric).

  16. Over in Tacoma, Lime decided to stop offering bikes and to offer scooters only, since the scooters were a lot more popular. Does Seattle have some kind of bikes only rule or something? I’m wondering why Lime hasn’t done scooters there when scooters were such a huge hit down the road.

    1. The scooters are just as expensive as the bikes. A switch from bikes to scooters would not save users any money.

    2. The city doesn’t allow them. Durkan is concerned about pedestrians’ and riders’ safety. Rightly so, IMO.

  17. As soon as you start subsidizing bikeshare, you have to ask the question whether it’s the best use of taxpayer funds, or whether the money is better spent on more bike lanes for people to ride their own bikes.

    There is also the issue that keeping the subsidy small would require serving only part of the city, at the expense of others, and that the areas that don’t get service won’t like that.

    I’m conflicted as to whether trying a pronto 2.0 is a good idea or bad, but right now, attempting such would be political suicide. It looks horrible to cut so many bike projects all over the city, then try to redirect that money into subsidies for bikeshare.

    1. Not to mention bicycle parking. If there’s one thing bike share has taught us, we don’t have nearly enough bike parking to handle a significant increase in bike riding. MUCH less in the way of secure options, and theft anxiety is a real factor.

  18. Thanks for reinforcing my inclination to avoid these things. Doubling the price with no change in service or convenience, that’s enough to keep me away.

  19. “As bikes are way cheaper than cars, either the bikeshare companies are making a killing, or the various alternative ways of using a car are in more financial trouble than we realize.”

    One bike is cheaper than one car, yes, but in this scenario, the cars (Lyft and Uber) are owned by the drivers and the bikes (Lime and Spin) are owned by the operating companies, and the bikes are subject to frequent damage through normal use and also vandalism. I think it’s likely that the bike companies (and their venture financiers) are realizing their old pricing doesn’t work given the rate of equipment repair/replacement they are experiencing.

    1. To put it a bit more bluntly: Lyft and Uber “owner-operators” are pretty much getting screwed left and right, and rides are being subsidized often by comparable margin as public transit. Right now my Lyft rider app has 50% off already heavily subsidized rides. Link fare capture is what, 40% and Metro aims for 30%?

      It’s also a bit revealing that so much of what’s left of bike share *is* run by Uber and Lyft. And indeed is viewed as part of the path to profitability for those companies.

  20. Monday, I saw a Lime scooter going down Fourth Avenue, with the rider wearing a Lime-logo helmet. That indicates to me that Lime is heading towards a “no bikes, yes scooters” push in the near future (laws or no laws).

  21. The cost issue is interesting.

    However, i took my first Lime Bike ride last Friday from South Lake Union area to the Paramount Theater.

    Had we tried to Uber or Lyft this ride (~1 mile) it would have taken probably 45 minutes, maybe more, judging by the traffic we experienced.

    However, our ride took us 25 minutes. Yes, it cost $7. But it was way more fun than sitting in downtown traffic.

    The ride back to SLU was just as fun, sans traffic. $11.50 for that lack of frustration?

    No problem.

Comments are closed.