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St. Petersburg bike share program receives a jolt

Mark Parker



A row of electric scooters and bicycles line Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. City officials are transitioning the bike share program to an all-electric fleet. Photo by Mark Parker.

City officials are modernizing St. Pete’s bike share program by replacing outdated manual models with 300 new electric bicycles.

Council members unanimously approved a three-year contract with Neutron Holdings, a.k.a. Lime, during their March 23 meeting. The agreement follows a request for proposals issued late last year and will save the city $63,000 in annual subsidies.

The city launched its bike share program in the fall of 2016 as an urban connectivity initiative. Local leaders believe upgrading to e-bikes will bolster those efforts and provide an affordable and equitable transit option.

“No longer are bikes used as something that you ride on a trail, only in terms of recreation and exercise,” said Charlie Guy, cofounder of Southside Greenway St. Pete. “They are now one of the federal government’s focal points for free or low-cost transportation for those in need of such assistance.”

Guy’s nonprofit works to create a sustainable transportation network using several local biking trails. He also serves as a multimodal transportation consultant for Deuces Live.

His organizations adamantly support expanding the city’s bike share program as a low-cost transit option. Guy said strategically placed corrals could stimulate growth in underserved neighborhoods that lost foot traffic following desegregation.

A map highlighting bike share corrals in St. Petersburg. Users must park inside the red boundary but can travel anywhere in the city. Screengrab.

In addition, e-bikes provide a quicker and less strenuous trip around St. Petersburg than manual models. Lime’s GEN 4 edition features a swappable battery with a 25-mile range and a top speed of 15 mph – about the same as an electric scooter.

Council member Gina Driscoll called the new contract “the next chapter of our bike share adventure.”

“It’s really encouraging to see the technology and the approach to shared mobility,” Driscoll said. “Now the e-bikes enable more users to ride longer distances than a regular pedal bike, and this is going to be all e-bikes now.”

As such, Driscoll asked Evan Mory, the director of transportation and parking management, if city officials should expand the program. He agreed and said his department is identifying areas for additional hubs.

The bike share program currently features over 45 hubs – or parking areas – throughout St. Petersburg and several share spaces with scooters. Unlike the previous agreement, city officials will now manage the designated corrals.

Mory said the original goal was 30 hubs and that he would “love to get 15 more in next year.”

Councilmember John Muhammed said he would like to see more corrals in southwest St. Pete. Mory explained that city officials plan to increase service in the area around the Clam Bayou Trail and connect to the Pinellas and Skyway Trails.

While users must park bikes within the designated service area, Mory said they could travel throughout the city. He also called SunRunner stations a “perfect place” to add bike-share corrals.

“We look for those good safe places to ride,” he added. “And then try to locate the hubs there.”

The e-bikes come with an adjustable seat, a retractable cable lock, a basket and a cell phone holder. Lime will provide up to 500 Class 1 models – which require some pedaling – according to demand.

The standard cost is $1 to unlock the bike and 39 cents per minute, Lime’s lowest rate in the state. Users can also purchase bulk minutes through a Ride Pass.

Lime offers a 70% discount for those who receive government assistance and an additional 20% for rides that begin in “Equity Zones.” Company and city officials will collaboratively identify hubs for that designation.

Mory relayed that Lime will utilize at least seven local employees rather than contractors to manage operations and provide a continuous person-to-person customer service line. City officials prohibit riding on sidewalks or outside bike lanes on low-speed streets.

CycleHop has served as St. Petersburg’s bike share vendor since 2016, and city administrators subsequently purchased 300 pedal bicycles. Residents and visitors have taken over 120,000 trips in less than seven years.

Mory’s department began adding e-bikes in February 2021, and demand soared. The electric models accounted for 66% of trips despite comprising just 25% of the fleet.

A graphic showing the previous program’s statistics. Screengrab.

The agreement with CycleHop concludes at the end of the month, and Lime’s e-bikes will hit the streets in mid-to-late April. Mory said the transition represents “a fresh, new chapter of bike share in St. Petersburg.”

Officials with Veo Ride also responded to the RFP. While the company provides St. Petersburg’s electric scooters, Mory said an evaluation committee comprised of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and city staff unanimously favored Lime’s proposal.

Mory said an initial $1.5 million investment funded the program for six and a half years. City officials will repurpose the old corrals, and Lime is providing the new e-bike fleet.

A $5,250 monthly subsidy ends with the old agreement, and local nonprofits will receive the pedal bicycles.

“We’re going to have an even better bike share program than we’ve ever had,” Mory said. “So, I think we ended up in a good place.”



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  1. Avatar

    Donna Kostreva

    March 30, 2023at7:39 am

  2. Avatar


    March 30, 2023at4:19 am

    Great idea. E-bikes are not toys. I own one and have logged more than 1,000 miles for shopping, errands and recreation. Helmets are a must. Training on how to smoothly operate these motorized vehicles is essential. Like bicycles, courtesy to walkers is a crucial. E-bikes are amazing, but must be respected by their riders.

  3. Avatar

    Pat O'Brien

    March 28, 2023at3:18 pm

    When will we address the trashy look of bikes and scooters just left anywhere-in the streets, on sidewalks & in the grass. It just looks so bad.

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