Micro-mobility and urban lifestyle with Florence Milner, Lime

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Lime is revolutionizing micro-mobility and empowering a new urban lifestyle. The mobile app lets riders easily find and unlock our fleet of shared smart bikes and scooters, providing them with a fun, efficient, and sustainable way to move around the city. By partnering with local communities, Lime is working to not only improve transportation, but cultivate a culture centered around active, healthy, and sustainable urban living. 

On what premise was the project started? Is there a lot of competition in this field at the moment?

For the first time in human history, over 75% of the European population lives in cities (and that is expected to grow to 80% by 2050). With that growth, virtually all cities have experienced the same problems: congestion, pollution, lack of space, increasing anonymity and inequality, as well as poor infrastructure.

Lime is helping people to respond to those changes and, with us, many other mobility providers. Since we first launched in June 2017, Lime has been reimagining the urban landscape with our multimodal fleet of electric scooters and bikes. We have seen over 100 million global rides to date and are present in over 100 cities and 30 global countries.

We’re encouraging sustainability and supporting the fight against pollution, congestion, and climate change by reducing the number of car journeys and emissions. In fact, a quarter of our rides replace a trip that would have been made by a motorized vehicle. We envision a future where cities are built around people, not cars.

What are the benefits consumers achieve through your platform? Are there any plans to add more equipment in addition to electric scooters in the future?

Lime brings people closer to what’s around them: with a fun, convenient, and efficient means to get around. Working closely with local communities and authorities across EMEA, we’re building a new culture of shared mobility and providing solutions to the challenges of city living in a sustainable, inclusive, and accessible way.

Contrary to public perception, most of our riders are locals (82%), making everyday trips for commuting, social, and errand trip purposes. Almost half of our journeys are made to or from public transit, providing riders with a solution for the first/last mile issue. In addition, a quarter of our rides replace a trip that would have been made by a motorized vehicle. In other words, Lime is reimagining urban life through the wonder of mobility, giving riders the gift of time.

Lime was the first shared mobility company to deploy a multimodal fleet that includes pedal bikes, electric bikes, electric scooters and soon to be more as a way to make it easier to experience life in a city. We are thinking ahead to the future to help make it easier for more people to experience all their city has to offer. We aim to provide a superior riding experience, which means we are constantly innovating on our product line. For example, we recently launched a new, patent-pending New Geofencing – zone detection technology globally that will improve Lime’s precision when it comes to further encouraging more responsible rider behavior. As a way to make scooters available to everyone, we also recently launched an accessible scooter pilot in San Francisco and Oakland, allowing the rider to sit when on the scooter.

How long did it take for Lime to reach the current operational status? Are there still things to improve? What’s next?

The founders of Lime, Toby Sun and Brad Bao, have always been very passionate about biking. After seeing the global rise of bike-share, they set out to start their own smart bike-share service, but wanted to do so by creating a more responsible, sustainable business model than had been previously employed in Asia.

That’s how they came up with Lime – they wanted to make moving around a city more convenient, and accessible with a bike-share while making sure it also provided the best ride experience with top-quality bikes (and a commitment to maintaining them), superior customer service, and an on-the-ground local presence. (Founding Story Video: YouTube)

Lime is now the world’s leading smart mobility provider for scooter and bike ridesharing fleets with 15+ million unique users logging over 100+ million rides in communities worldwide since first launching in June 2017. Lime currently serves over 100+ cities around the world on four continents and 30+ countries.

Our mission is to provide communities with safe, sustainable, convenient transportation options, and we are continuously looking to improve the way our riders move throughout their cities. At Lime, we’re not just thinking of what people need to get around cities today, but how to predict what they’ll need tomorrow. Since the very beginning, our mission has been clear: create an accessible micro-mobility alternative to improve the way people get around.

What is the process for renting an electric scooter through your platform?

To use Lime, riders simply download the app, locate a bike/scooter on the map, and unlock it with the tap of a button. When the ride is completed, riders follow in-app instructions to end the trip and responsibly park it. Also explained in our video which you can find here.

Limes’ vehicles are GPS and data-enabled, making it easier for riders to find, unlock, and pick up a nearby bike or scooter with their smartphones (Android or iOS).

How are the user safety measurements taken into account? Is the law complicated regarding this aspect? What about insurance?

At Lime, the safety of our riders and the community is our number one priority. That’s why we’re continually innovating on technology, infrastructure, and education to set the standard for micro-mobility safety. It motivates our mission to make cities safer and easier to get around. We think it’s vital that today’s new micro-mobility options can coexist safely with cars and other vehicles on our roads – and we want to partner with communities to help make that happen.

In terms of our own actions, we limit the speed of our scooters, have in-app messages and safety tutorials that riders must watch before unlocking their first scooter, and we organize safety workshops dedicated to Lime users, such as our First Ride and Lime Academy events, during which we distribute riders helmets. To date, First Ride has trained over 4,000 participants in 60+ cities at over 200+ events.

photograpy by Kris Krug

We also have foot patrol teams making sure that our scooters and bikes are parked correctly to avoid any obstruction on pedestrian pathways or roads and help deploy the placement of Lime at key and strategic places around the city. Finally, our dedicated customer support is available 24/7 to ensure we provide the best user experience – for riders and non-riders alike.

In terms of insurance, Lime has Commercial General Liability, which provides coverage in cases where Lime is at fault, such as scooter malfunctions. In every market we operate in, our insurance meets or exceeds the requirements set forth by local regulators.

Any trouble with vandalism, stolen scooters, or damage to your charging stations yet? How do you prevent this?

Vandalizing only harms those who rely on these vehicles every day as an affordable, convenient way to get around. It’s a criminal offense, and we urge anyone who sees a Lime scooter that they suspect is being tampered to immediately report it to our 24/7 customer service team. Lime scooters are also permanently tracked by GPS, which means they can be recovered at any time. Each scooter uses customized parts to specific Lime scooter models, so if someone tries to take a part of our scooter, it would not fit any other model.

How does Lime promote sustainability and carbon reduction?

Lime is changing people’s mobility habits and encouraging more sustainable mobility. Sustainability is core to Lime’s mission, and we’ve taken multiple steps to reduce our environmental impact, including streamlining our charging operations, powering our scooters with 100% renewable energy, offsetting the emissions from fleet vehicles, and establishing a robust repair and reuse program to extend the life cycle of our products. With one in every four scooter trips replacing a car trip, we believe micromobility will reduce pollution and mitigate climate change through cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation.

We estimate to have saved 25 million miles of car travel. This means savings of 9,000 metric tons of carbon emissions or 1,012,000 gallons of gas, which is the equivalent of taking 2,000 cars off the road for a year or more than 50x to the moon and back.

For example, Paris is a city that has adopted micromobility in full force and has seen a total number of 20 million trips on Lime scooters by 2 million users, for an average duration of 10 minutes and an average trip length of 2.4 km. In January 2019, Lime became the first electric scooter operator in France to partner with a local renewable-energy supplier, Planète OUI, to power all Limecharged e-scooters and warehouse operations with 100% renewable power from local French-based wind, solar and small hydro projects.

Globally, Lime buys renewable energy to cover the charging of its global fleet of scooters and, to date, has purchased over 6,900MWh of solar, wind, and small-hydro power – enough energy to power 560 average US homes for a year or equal to more than 26 rail cars of coal.

Meanwhile, we’re making rapid advances in both technology and operations that are helping us even further advance the sustainability benefits of our programs. Our latest scooter model lasts in excess of 18 months.

Some more information regarding this topic: Lime for a sustainable Paris: a study on Lime’s environmental impact in Paris, 2018-2019 and 5 Ways Lime Is Working On Sustainability

Considering the global pandemic, how is this affecting your business at the moment? Do you think this is going to raise further awareness about sustainability and environmental issues?

We’ve temporarily paused our services in the vast majority of cities to help stop the further spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve around the world. While this was a tough decision, it stems largely from our love for cities and the people that contribute to their vibrancy. We’re using this time to support cities, to contribute to their health and resilience, and to improve our business so we can be ready for their comeback. We’re also preparing for a post-COVID world that will be dramatically different, especially in the earliest stages of recovery

At Lime, we know the value of public transit, and our riders do too. During a survey last year, close to 50% of them stated they began or ended a trip with public transit in the prior month. Multi-modal transportation networks are a tremendous asset to cities, and transit must be sustained for the long term. In the more immediate future, as we come out of this crisis, city-dwellers will be looking for alternatives that allow them to remain socially distanced. We can’t afford to lose the progress we have made and have transit riders return to cars and contribute to pollution, congestion, traffic deaths, noise pollution, and clogged urban space.

For more updates and details, you can see our latest steps in this company blog.

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