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story.lead_photo.caption After Tuesday, these shadows will be a thing of the past as Spin is permanently removing its bikes. When first introduced to Jefferson City, there were about 75 of the rentable bicycles around town. After the initial use period, usage declined and now there are about 25 of them in town. However, the Spin scooters will be removed throughout the winter months but return in the spring. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

The bike-share company in Jefferson City plans to permanently remove the orange bikes and temporarily hibernate the electric scooters potentially by next week.

Skinny Labs Inc. — known as Spin — will start phasing out the bikes and electric scooters over the next few weeks, a company spokesperson said Wednesday. The bikes will be removed permanently while the scooters will be hibernated for the winter.

Amy Schroeder, Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry community relations manager, also made the announcement at Tuesday's Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission.

Schroeder said a Spin representative originally told her the electric scooters would be hibernated by Tuesday but added that date is "a little flexible." All of the bikes are supposed to be removed tentatively by that same date, she noted.

While the rentable bicycles won't return to Jefferson City, Schroeder said, the electric scooters are set to return in March.

Schroeder estimated there are currently 20-30 Spin bicycles in Jefferson City, significantly down from the 75 that debuted in July 2018.

There are about 150 electric scooters in Jefferson City, Schroeder said, a large jump from the 75 that debuted in December 2018.

Spin is removing the bicycles from Jefferson City because of low usage, degrading conditions of the bicycles and issues replacing the damaged bicycles, said Schroeder and Ashley Varner, healthy communities coordinator for Capital Region Medical Center.

"Because they were unable to replenish them once they were damaged, there was less to chose from, and we aren't able to have as many available to meet the possible demand," Schroeder said. "The bike usage has been much lower than what they would like to see. From a business standpoint, it doesn't make sense to invest in a product that isn't being used."

Schroeder said the disrepair of the bicycles also created a safety issue.

Electric scooters have higher usage than bicycles nationwide, Varner and Schroeder said, not just in Jefferson City.

"We hoped that we would have higher usage, but we have seen that the usage has skyrocketed with the scooters," Varner said. "We have completely embraced scooters, and we want to lift that up in our community."

Over the last several months, it's common to see teenagers and adults zipping by on orange electric scooters on the greenways and around downtown. However, it is now a fairly rare sight to see someone riding the orange rentable bikes, and some of the bikes — such as a group of them on East Capitol Avenue — even have cobwebs on them.

The most recent data from Spin shows the combined number of completed rides for bicycles and electric scooters increased between January and July. February had the lowest completed trips at 628, while May had the highest completed trips at 3,221.

The Spin data does not indicate the completed rides for electric scooters and bicycles individually.

Usage with the scooters has been pretty consistent, Schroeder said. However, Spin "would like to see it used more," she added.

"They would expect a community of our size, they would expect to see those numbers a little higher," she said. "They weren't dissatisfied with the numbers, but they would anticipate them to be a little higher."

The Spin representative did not tell Schroeder how many completed electric scooter rides they would like Jefferson City to have, she added.

While there are several cyclists in Jefferson City, Varner said, many have their own bicycles and do not need to rent them.

The city and Capital Region will continue to support bicycle infrastructure after Spin removes the bicycles, Varner added.

The Parks and Recreation Commission first approved the zero-cost contract with Spin in spring 2018. They renewed the contract in spring 2019.

Ford Motor Company purchased Spin in 2018.

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