St. Louis will no longer have green bikes lining its sidewalks.
Bike-share company Lime decided to replace its bike fleet with electric scooters. The scooters have proven to be more popular among residents, a Lime spokesperson said.
From May to July, Lime reported that it had 800 to 1,000 bicycles in the area. That number decreased to between 600 and 800 bikes and scooters in August.
That month, a scooter-share program, Bird, received permission to start operating in St. Louis, increasing the presence of scooters in St. Louis.
Bicycles became harder to find when, in September, Ofo, a China-based bike-share company, withdrew its services from St. Louis and other American cities to consolidate its markets.
After Ofo left, there was a “dip in the number of bikes out on the road,” said Lime’s director of strategic development Sam Sadle during a September interview with St. Louis Public Radio. Lime responded to the lack of bikes by increasing the number of scooters in St. Louis to make sure they were “continuing to provide mobility services for the city,” he said.
St. Louis’s commissioner of traffic, Deanna Venker — who administers Lime’s permit to operate — said it doesn’t come as a surprise that the bike-share company would replace its bike fleet with scooters. She said, since April, there have been around 175,000 bike rides. Meanwhile, just since August, there have been more than double that number of scooter rides, she said.
“We are sad to see the option of having bikes leave the St. Louis area and that market. But the riders of St. Louis have spoken. And the sheer number of rides caused the availability of the bikes to go away,” she said.
Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia (D-6th Ward), introduced an ordinance last month to direct a portion of registration fees from bike- and scooter-share companies toward helping low-income people with the cost of riding them. The company charges $1 to ride a scooter plus 15 cents per minute used, according to its website.
She says the removal of bike-sharing won’t have an impact on her bill. And, she says she hopes the scooters will be accessible to all St. Louis neighborhoods.
“We don’t want these vehicles to only be available in the Central Corridor. We want residents to be able to use them in other neighborhoods north and south,” she said. “A lot of folks use these scooters and bikes to get maybe from a bus stop to work, or in between a MetroLink to a bus stop. So we wanted to make sure it is accessible to the most amount of people.”
Follow Andy Tsubasa Field on Twitter @AndyTsubasaF.
Send questions and comments about this story to email@example.com