A new electric-assist bike company is joining the mix of bikes and scooters on the streets of Seattle as the city is expanding transportation sharing options.
Chicago-based Veo plans to have 1,500 of its Cosmo e-bikes in Seattle by next spring, and is deploying the first 500 over the next week.
The Cosmo features throttle-assist and has pedals and a motor to make for an easier ride for people with varying abilities. The lower center of gravity is reminiscent of the Wheels sit-down scooter that is also part of the Seattle Department of Transportation’s mobility program.
Veo will join Lime as the city’s second bike-share option. Lime took over Uber’s bike and scooter-share service, Jump, in 2020 and their e-bike model is now called Lime E-Bikes.
“We are thrilled to be working with the City of Seattle to expand sustainable transportation with our most accessible e-bike yet,” Veo CEO Candice Xie said in a news release. “Veo’s e-bikes will give Seattlites a fun, car-free option to get where they need to go, whether it’s to a neighborhood coffee shop or that last leg from a transit stop.”
According to SDOT data, there have been 359,000 bike-share trips so far in 2021. That’s up from 316,700 in 2020, but far below the 2.2 million registered in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and altered commutes and lifestyles.Lime scooters on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Wash. (GeekWire File Photo)
Along with Wheels, there are fleets of scooters in Seattle from Lime, Spin and Link. The electric scooters have attracted more riders in 2021, at 1.8 million trips, up from 88,600 in 2020.
“This program is an important part of our strategy to reduce pollution and meet our climate goals, and we are excited to expand the program and welcome Veo to Seattle,” SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe said in a statement.
Veo said the e-bike program will bring up to 30 jobs to Seattle, with roles focused on maintenance, rebalancing, responding to needs in the field, and community engagement. The company employs about 200 people total.
Riders can use the Veo app to scan a QR code and unlock a bike for $1. Rides are 29 cents per minute for the duration of the trip. The promo code RIDESEA will allow riders to bypass the unlock fee and get $5 in credit. Veo is also offering discounted rates for low-income riders.
Like the other sharing options, riders are encouraged to park devices responsibly to avoid hindering accessibility on city sidewalks. Riders must take a photo of the Veo bike to confirm proper parking and end a ride.
Veo raised $16 million in a Series A round in July to fuel expansion, and now operates in about 30 cities across the U.S.