Lime is currently pulling all of their fully-manual bicycles out of Seattle and replacing them with electric bikes under a plan that will turn their entire rideshare fleet fully electric by next month, according to a company spokesperson.
“Lime has begun pulling pedal bikes out of Seattle as part of a planned shift to 100 percent electric bikes in 2019. This was included in Lime’s application to the city, which was filed in August 2018,” said Veronica Brown, a spokesperson for the company. “Lime’s bike fleet in Seattle will be all electric by mid-March.”
Lime’s transition is likely to make fans of the electric-assist bicycles happy but it will also mean a substantial increase in the minimum amount of money it takes to operate one of the green bicycles as Lime removes the cheaper manual bicycles. The electric bicycles cost $1 to unlock and $0.15 per minute of riding, whereas the fully manual cycles cost $1 to unlock and only $0.05 per minute of riding. Lime raised their rates in September after two of their competitors left town.
Brown didn’t elaborate on why the company decided to change its fleet, but it might be because of riders like me. I end up riding a Lime Bike multiple days a week and I always take an electric version if I can find one. This electric-first rule even includes my most common route from The Stranger’s office on Capitol Hill to Downtown where I catch a bus. This route involves riding the bicycle less than a mile almost entirely down a hill. I only need to pedal a handful of times, yet I still opt for the electric bicycle out of laziness. Pretty soon Lime will take that choice out of my hands.