Lime has launched 1,000 electric scooters in New York City to kick off the Department of Transportation’s East Bronx scooter-sharing pilot. New York will become just the second city in the United States to launch Lime’s latest generation scooter, the Gen4.
Lime says it designed the new kick scooter in-house with a view to longer service life and “systematic reuse and then recycling of materials and batteries.” In New York City, the electric scooters add to Lime’s fleet of shared electric mopeds, which launched in April ’21 and operates in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.
Lime claims the launch of electric scooters made the company the only multi-modal micromobility operator in New York City. Adds Lime CEO Wayne Ting: “Today is the culmination of years of community outreach, establishing trust and building meaningful relationships to bring a shared scooter program to New York City finally, and we look forward to continuing to earn the trust of all New Yorkers over the coming months and years.”
New York City is notoriously difficult for mobility operators. The big apple had banned e-bikes for ages and suffers from congestion, making it reportedly hard for even Tesla taxis to obtain a license. Operator Revel also had to suspend its e-moped sharing due to safety concerns in 2020.
However, Lime says it builds on some positive history in New York as it previously provided shared electric bicycles as part of NYC DOT’s dockless bike-share pilot.
Still, to get New York to grant a kick scooter permit, Lime says it worked with advocates, legislators, and community partners to legalize electric scooters over the last three years, leading to state legislation in 2020, followed by the introduction of a pilot program at the NYC Council.
Focus on safety and equity
To be successful, Lime had to deliver a comprehensive plan, including safety as a top priority. The company explains that Lime users’ first three scooter rides will begin in training mode, capping their speed at ten mph. Helmets are not a must but encouraged, and Lime suggests riding either in bike lanes or to the right of car traffic. Riding on sidewalks is prohibited, and Lime says it will use its geofence technology to prevent scooters from being driven in restricted areas, as well as outside of the pilot zone.
In New York City, the new service also includes Lime Aid and Lime Access, which provide discounts to frontline workers and all residents receiving state, local, and/or federal assistance, respectively. The special tariffs include free 30-minute rides and $.04/minute after that, and Lime says there are also text-to-unlock options for those without smartphones and cash and alternative payment methods for the unbanked.
New York’s decision to award Lime a permit for its e-scooter pilot program is the latest in a series of permit awards for the company from major cities over the past year. The company won micromobility operator permits in Paris, Chicago, Seattle and Denver. Lime also claims to be the only micromobility company to operate in all of the world’s biggest cities with e-scooter or e-bike programs, including London, Berlin, Rome, Seoul, Sydney, Los Angeles, Madrid and San Francisco.
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