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Podcast #66: Streetcar Mailbag

Answering your questions

  • Elected boards (2:31)
  • Earthquakes (9:20)
  • Fare evasion (9:50)
  • Streetcar alternatives (11:20)
  • Light rail to Laurelhurst (19:00)
  • East link frequency (22:00)
  • Center platforms (24:20)
  • Fare evasion and ORCA (28:20)
  • Post-viaduct transit from the South (30:20)
  • 4th avenue CID station (31:20)
  • Seattle Circulator (32:59)
  • City council (36:01)
  • Post-viaduct transit from the north (40:55)
  • Real time info for Link (42:40)
  • Union station (46:04)
  • Transit maps (48:27)
  • Fixed bridge to Ballard (50:18)
  • Transit operator dream routes (50:38)
  • Salvaging CCC and Madison BRT (51:48)

Bikeshare Out, Bikeshare In


Within one month of Seattle imposing new regulations and a $50 per bike per year permit fee, Sarah Anne Lloyd reports that both Ofo and Spin are on their way out.

When Ofo first announced its departure, the company attributed the decision to the new fee structure, which adds up to $250,000 for a fleet 5,000 bicycles (or $50 per bike). Fees go toward administering the bike-share permit, addressing equity issues, and developing parking solutions for the bicycles…

Like with Ofo, which also recently announced its bikes wouldn’t be returning, a Spin spokesperson cited high permit fees as a deciding factor.

If the companies are truthfully blaming the new fees, it would be a spectacular own-goal from the City. A light regulatory touch made Seattle into a dockless bikeshare success story. Taxing into oblivion the lowest-cost, lowest-impact transportation service imaginable while dumping cash into buses, trains, and cars would mock all the goals Seattle ostensibly has.

However, Ofo is broadly retreating from the U.S., and Spin may pivot to e-scooters. Blaming regulators is a better excuse than “we ran our business into the ground.” So readers can choose to believe the best or the worst about what SDOT and City Council wrought.

Regardless, never fear: JUMP (Uber) and Motivate (Lyft) are not deterred by exorbitant permit fees ($).

Though the city’s recently passed bike-share regulations allow up to four companies to operate up to 5,000 bikes each, only three applied for permits. The application period recently closed.

Continue reading “Bikeshare Out, Bikeshare In”