Denver wants to let Lyft and Lime manage the city’s shared bike and scooter program
And the city’s betting on scooters.
If Denver City Council gives its blessing, Lyft and Lime would control all of the city’s shared bikes and scooters.
The Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure announced Thursday it will give Lime and Lyft new licensing agreements that would make them the only companies in town allowed to rent out the app-based bikes (pedal and electric) and scooters. And emphasis on the scooters: Each company would be allowed to rent up to 1,500 a piece, up from the previous cap of 350 per company.
If Denver City Council approves the agreement — it’ll vote sometime in the next few weeks — the companies would also replace the Denver B-Cycle program, which shut down early last year.
The companies must supply bikes at a rate of at least 20 percent of their scooter fleets (bikes are less popular than scooters, according to ridership data). So a fleet of 1,500 scooters would require at least 300 bikes.
If Lyft and Lime want the licenses, they’ll have to agree to more terms.
They’ll have to make at least 30 percent of their fleets available in areas that have low vehicle ownership and high transit ridership; see those here: 2021 Opportunity Areas. They’ll have to offer free and/or subsidized passes to residents “to attract new riders and increase mobility choices around the city,” according to a statement from DOTI.
Riders may get new docking options for their scooters and bikes, including charging stations and “painted parking corrals.”
Electric scooters and shared bikes have been allowed in Denver since 2018.
That’s when the city launched the Dockless Mobility Pilot Program, which allowed them to operate in the public right of way.
“Through the pilot, DOTI observed that shared micro-mobility has an opportunity to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips, enhance people’s connections to transit and provide other ways to get around,” according to the statement from DOTI.
Since 2018, more than 6.1 million scooter and 325,000 shared bike trips have been taken in Denver. In 2019, the city launched a bidding process to find companies to manage the shared mobility system.
Lime and Lyft, normally competitors, operate shared bike and scooter programs across the U.S.
Denverite’s Dave Sachs contributed to the reporting in this story.