SPOKANE, Wash. — The City of Spokane is making changes to its WheelShare program to help curb the spread of coronavirus.
According to a press release from the city, the changes being made "line up with the governor's indefinite extension of the statewide pause on progressing through the stages."
The city said Lime offered to help address activities of its riders in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Changes being made to Lime scooters and bikes include:
- Reducing the number of scooters available from 800 to 500
- Setting a curfew of 10 p.m. on the scooters and bikes in the downtown core area to reflect bar hour restrictions
- Positioning scooters in groups of five or less and physically distancing the scooters more in their staging areas
- Geo-fencing Riverfront Park and designating "use areas that encourage use for essential transportation"
- Adding a face covering notification that appears when someone activates a device
- Increasing push notifications to users promoting face coverings and other best practices
- Continuing collaboration with community partners and promoting public health requirements
Lime has also said it is increasing the frequency in which scooters and bikes are cleaned and has provided personal protection equipment to warehouse and officer workers.
Lime scooters are returned to Spokane on Wednesday, July 1, followed by bikes about two weeks later.
“Lime scooters and bikes have proven to be an asset for the community and will provide an additional option for transportation for residents, workers and visitors,” said Mayor Nadine Woodward.
Spokane’s WheelShare program, operated by Lime, was launched as a pilot program in 2018 and ran from May to November of 2019. Riders logged 643,000 miles and 581,000 individual trips on the shared bicycles and scooters last year, according to the city.
The scooters were put into storage over the winter and initially supposed to hit the streets again in the spring. But their return was delayed when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
As part of the relaunch in Spokane, Lime is taking various steps to keep people safe during the coronavirus pandemic, a city spokesperson said.
The company will use enhanced cleaning methods, and increase its frequency of cleaning and disinfecting scooters and bikes. All parts of the scooters and bikes that are touched by people will be cleaned using products recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and approved by the EPA for use against coronavirus.
Lime offices and warehouses are also distributing hand sanitizer, masks, gloves and other protective gear to employees. All mechanics and operators in the field are required to wear gloves and wash their hands regularly.
Lime will also work with the City of Spokane and local health officials to decide if operations need to be paused or suspended at any point.
In-app reminders will also provide riders with information about health and safety best practices, including the use of hand sanitizer, maintaining six feet of distance from others, inspecting the scooter to make sure it is in good condition, and remaining alert, among others.