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Spin hits brakes on bike share

The University of Idaho is starting a dockless bike share program for the fall semester using Spin bicycles. Students can rent the bicycles using a smartphone app. (Courtesy)
The University of Idaho is starting a dockless bike share program for the fall semester using Spin bicycles. Students can rent the bicycles using a smartphone app. (Courtesy)

The Spin dockless bicycle share program expected to be implemented on the University of Idaho campus and in the city of Moscow next month has skidded to a stop.

Rebecca Couch, UI director of parking and transportation services, said Spin, a bike and scooter share company, announced it will not bring its standard bicycles to the university next month, as it has discontinued its dockless pedal bike system in favor of a scooter share system.

Couch said the university and Spin signed a contract that included a 12-month pilot program with 100 bikes this fall and 50 to 75 electric scooters in the spring.

The city was also moving toward an agreement with Spin, but it will not see Spin’s bikes in Moscow, either.

The Moscow City Council Public Works/Finance Committee on Monday discussed and was receptive to the implementation of Spin’s dockless bike share program within the city. The City Council planned to consider implementing the program at its Aug. 6 meeting.

Couch said Spin officials told her they have seen the popularity and usage of the electric scooters exceeding any other mode by a factor of 10 times.

While Couch said the move was a bit of a surprise and that she is disappointed, it was not shocking because the bike share industry is quickly changing and developing.

At this point, Couch said the university will determine how it wants to proceed.

“We’ve done a lot of the groundwork, so that’s good if we do find someone else we want to go ahead with,” Couch said.

She said the contract with Spin allowed for termination by either party for any reason.

Couch said the university still plans to implement a bike share program in the future.

“We are a biking town, and there’s so many benefits to pedaling a bike, and we’ve got the infrastructure for it,” she said.

Couch said Spin is still interested in providing scooters for the university but that another contract would likely need to be created in order to do so. She said the university will discuss whether it wants to implement scooters on campus this spring or at a future date using Spin or another company.

Moscow Public Works Director Les MacDonald said the city will further research its options.

“It’s disappointing, obviously,” MacDonald said. “It looked like it was going to be a very attractive program, and we hope we can find something to take its place.”

Although the university and city would have had its own agreements with Spin, the plan was to implement 100 bikes that could be used and parked in the city or on campus.

The program would have allowed riders to unlock the bikes using Spin’s mobile application, ride it to the bicyclist’s desired destination and drop it off on campus or somewhere in the city.


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