EVERETT — Lime scooters won’t be seen for months as the company puts them on a winter hiatus.
Anyone trying to hop aboard recently found a message on the smartphone app letting people know it’s offline for the season.
“Due to winter weather, Lime will be paused until warmer days,” the message reads.
A drop in ridership and concerns about safety prompted the company to pause scooter service in the city, a Lime spokesman said.
The break was expected by city leaders who authorized the rentable electric scooters to initially operate as a three-month pilot program in May.
“We anticipated this … ” Everett spokesman Julio Cortes said. “ … Around the region ridership dwindles over the winter and weather conditions can cause safety concerns.”
A Lime spokesman declared the first season in Everett a success, with more than 28,000 rides taken by more than 8,000 users during the trial run.
That popularity created a small horde of 46 people, called Juicers by the company, who charged the scooters overnight as side work. Combined, they earned about $25,000 in the program’s first three months in Everett.
It also created crashes. At least four riders were involved in collisions during the first few months, with three people sustaining some level of injury, according to the city. Half of the incidents were on a sidewalk, where scooters are not legal; the rest occurred in the street.
Continuing operations through the cold, dark and slick winter months posed additional safety concerns. Lime also did not want unused scooters sitting around Everett. The company suspended e-bike service in Seattle for similar reasons.
The scooters are expected to return in Everett next spring. Officials from Lime and the city will decide the date.
“In the meantime, we will continue to work with Lime on public education strategies to help ensure proper ridership of the scooters by our residents and visitors,” Cortes said.