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So, what’s next for bike share in Seattle? 

Over the last year, we’ve been piloting a free-floating bike share program that gives people another option for getting around Seattle. Our goal with the pilot was to equitably increase city-wide mobility by permitting companies to operate in the city to test feasibility and ridership interest – at no cost to the City of Seattle.


One year later, & we’re seeing some good results.

Bike share is providing people with another way to get around – especially to access transit. At no cost to the City of Seattle, bike share users took 1.3 million total rides through May 2018, including 7,200 rides per day last month. Three-quarters of people who used bike share said that they used it to access public transit.

Because the bike share pilot has provided Seattle residents and visitors another option for getting around conveniently, we’re recommending to the City Council that Seattle adopts an annually renewable bike share permitting program. That program gives us the chance to apply lessons learned from the pilot so that it can be even better for Seattle residents and visitors, more equitable, and provide even more options for getting around.


We’re proposing some changes.

Bike share parking area in Ballard.

We’ll have more details to share soon, but based on community feedback and lessons learned from our analysis of how bike share is being used, highlights of the changes we’re proposing for bike share include:


  • Create a bike share parking area program. We heard loud and clear from residents and business owners that the annual permitting program needs more clarity on where bikes are parked and more overall parking capacity to make sure the bikes are not blocking the public right-of-way, as well as private driveways and building entrances. So we’re recommending the City expand and evolve how it approaches designated parking areas for bike shares. In the short term, we’ll begin with on-sidewalk bike stalls like the ones we piloted in Ballard. Before we move forward on any in-street parking areas, we’ll talk to communities to get their feedback.


  • Ensure the bike share program advances equity in every neighborhood in Seattle and is accessible for our lower-income neighbors. We’re recommending the City increases its equity requirements, like requiring all-City coverage, having a plan to reach low-income residents, and providing options to residents who don’t have credit cards or smartphones.


  • Allow for more growth to make sure every part of Seattle is being served by the program. We’re proposing to add a fourth company to the pilot and allow up to 20,000 bikes, compared to the existing 10,000.


  • Create a proactive compliance and enforcement program. During the pilot, we learned that we need to be more proactive in making sure companies and their customers are complying with the program. That’s why we will require companies to educate their customers on safe riding and parking habits. We’ll have a neutral third party do audits every six months on parking, maintenance, and data. We’ll penalize the companies that fail to comply.


  • Increase the permit fee so the program remains no-cost to the City and so can we address the lessons learned in the pilot. We’ll be increasing the permit fee to $250,000 per year, per company.


Want to learn more about bike share in Seattle? Visit our Free-Floating Bike Share Page!