US company Lime has disregarded the failures of oBike, ReddyGo and ofo in Australia, and launched its bike-sharing service in Brisbane and Sydney.
The company believes its Aussie venture will find similar success to that which they already found in the US and Europe.
“Sydney’s need for innovative transports solutions gives us confidence we will see high uptake of Lime electric bikes within the community,” said a spokesman in a press release.
Lime also said that they have found success in cities “similar to Sydney, such as Seattle”.
Whether the company will find success is yet to be determined, but the service does seem to be excellent at first glance.
Here’s everything that you need to know about Lime bikes.
How does it work?
Just like other bike-sharing apps that have launched in Australia, Lime’s fleet of electric scooters and bikes are planted in several locations around the city for you to access.
All you need to do is download the Lime app on your smartphone, find nearby scooters, e-bikes and pedal bikes, scan the QR code or enter the bike code to unlock it and you’re away.
Once you’re done riding around you just have to lock your bike back up and leave it in a safe, sensible area for the next user.
How much do Lime bikes cost?
The price to ride any Lime vehicle is $1 to unlock the bike or scooter and $0.15 for every minute you ride. That’s $1 every four minutes, $5 for 20 minutes and $15 per hour. If you plan on using a bike all day, keep costs down by picking up a new one for each ride.
Where can I find them?
You can find Lime bikes all over the United States as well as in Paris, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Brussels and even New Zealand. In Australia, they’re limited to Sydney and Brisbane so far.
In Sydney, the bikes are restricted to the inner city. Your best bet of finding one is in places like Surry Hills, Sydney CBD, The Rocks and Newtown, but there’s over 300 scattered across Sydney.
Bad news for those living in the suburbs, though – there are absolutely none available. Let’s hope that Lime is a success in its initial roll-out so we can get some bikes in Blacktown!
What kind of bikes are there?
Lime offers three distinct vehicles. The Lime-S is an electric scooter with a 250-watt motor that offers a 32+ kilometre maximum range and 23.8 kph max speed. You monitor the scooter’s battery via the app to avoid getting stranded. At this stage, the scooter is only available in Brisbane.
The main offering – and what’s hitting Sydney – is the Lime-E electric assist bike. Rather than being fully electric, the Lime-E automatically engages the motor to give the rider a bit of a boost once you start pedalling. This bike has the same motor and maximum speed as the scooter, but a much larger 80+ kilometre range.
Also hitting Sydney is the LimeBike, which come in 1-speed, 3-speed and 8-speed variants. For example, the 1-speed is fine for short rides around the city, the 3-speed will let you climb some hills and the 8-speed is best for those riding down the M2 cycleway.
Are there any rules?
Well, there are two main rules: don’t steal the bike and don’t leave it in a random place for someone else to deal with. Users also have to be 18+ and have a driver’s license to qualify to drive the Lime-S scooter.
Apart from that you just need to abide by standard traffic rules, wear a helmet, park away from pedestrian walkways and use hand signals. Oh, and don’t toss your bike in the Yarra River like oBike users did in Melbourne.
Will Lime succeed?
I hope so. Their service has proven massively successful, particularly on American college campuses and in European cities. There’s no reason why Aussies couldn’t benefit from the same service, whether it’s in universities or across the entire city.
Lime’s electric fleet should set it above previous share bike companies. Companies like ofo and oBike offered regular bikes that people weren’t particularly comfortable riding in Sydney traffic, and they weren’t suited to Sydney’s size and layout.
Other bike-sharing apps also lacked government support, something the NSW government has promised to change.
Lime predicts its service will be very popular in Australia’s summer months. They’re hoping places like Bondi, Manly and other inner city hubs will be teeming with locals and tourists exploring the city on their bikes and scooters.
Bike-sharing is an important mode of sustainable transport and I think that with Lime, Sydney will finally embrace it.
[Images courtesy of Lime]