SPOKANE, Wash. — Lime scooters and bikes had a short 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a 50% decrease in ridership in Spokane.
In 2019, Spokane residents rode Lime scooters and bikes a total of 643,000 miles. According to Lime’s estimate, that means Spokane residents only rode approximately 300,000 miles in 2020.
Normally, Lime puts their scooters and bikes on the streets in March but the city of Spokane did not let Lime release its 2020 fleet until July. The short season and stay-at-home orders led to the decrease in mileage.
“COVID has provided a test to any business. And in a period where scooters are quite new, just have been on the scene for two years at the time COVID struck, it’s really been a stress test,” Jonathan Hopkins, a representative for Lime Pacific Northwest, said.
Despite the decrease in business, Hopkins said Lime’s resilience during the pandemic proved the scooters will be in cities across the nation long-term.
Even though people rode the scooters and bikes less in 2020, the company still saw the need for them in several communities. Based on a survey of their customers, Lime said most of their riders used their service to connect to public transport at least once a month.
The company also saw more people using the scooters and bikes to pick up food or ride in less crowded, more scenic places rather than Spokane's downtown core.
Despite the changes, Lime said their service also helps the city. They said 80% of riders are more likely to go into local businesses when Lime bikes or scooters are available.
As Washington state begins to re-open, Lime hopes its service will be beneficial to local economies.
“Our goal this year in Spokane is to work with the city, work with the downtown Spokane partnership and Visit Spokane to help the recovery be the best it can be both for locals and for the people who visit the wonderful city of Spokane,” Hopkins said.
Spokane isn’t the only city that could benefit from Lime in 2021. The company has plans to expand into Spokane Valley starting in March.
They also are interested in expanding to other neighboring cities, such as Cheney and Coeur d’Alene, but need the approval of local leaders before moving forward.