Lime Moves Toward Transportation Equity

August 23, 2018
lime equity

Credit: Lime

Lime has announced "a pivotal step" towards ensuring transportation equity in the communities it serves. In a recent blog post detailing the news, the company, a shared mobility solution provider, said that it is expanding its Lime Access program to include 50 percent off of Lime’s entire fleet of electric vehicles. This means that riders in underserved communities can now choose between pedal bikes, electric-assist bikes and electric scooters to service their transportation needs.

This marks the first time an equity program has applied to the three most popular modes of dock-free urban transportation. By offering the use of its electric fleet at a 50 percent discount, San Mateo, CA-based Lime is setting a new standard for the industry, providing the most meaningful savings to date for underserved smart mobility riders, said the company in its August 9 blog. The company prides itself on being the first to provide a diverse shared mobility fleet to the masses.

“While there’s certainly more work to be done, we believe that easier access to our Lime and Lime-S products will help to lower transportation barriers and bring mobility independence to more community members across the U.S.,” noted the news release.

Promoting itself as the first to offer cash payments to riders, the company alsp noted its efforts to build out a pilot program in cities like Seattle and Los Angeles. Soon thereafter, Lime developed an industry-leading partnership with PayNearMe to bring nationwide pedal bike access at a 95% discount to the unbanked and those without smartphones.

A 30-minute electric scooter ride across town costs, on average, $5.50; riders who benefit from the $1 market standard reduction are still required to pay $4.50, or 82 percent of the original price. At just $0.50 to unlock and $0.07/minute to ride, however, Lime Access members will now pay just $2.60 for that same 30-minute trip; and the savings only add up from there, said the Lime announcement.

The company encouraged users to review its Community Impact page for details on how to enable cash payments at over 27,000 PayNearMe locations across the United States.

According to the company, Lime is revolutionizing mobility in cities and campuses by empowering residents with a greener, more efficient, and affordable transportation option that also improves urban sustainability. The company is funded by Silicon Valley’s leading venture capital firm, and has, since launching in June 2017, logged over 1.5 million trips, expanded internationally to Europe, and deployed electric scooters, electric-assist bikes, and multiple models of their standard pedal bike. In July, Lime announced a funding partnership with Uber, as noted in an article on this site. 

A July 2 Venturebeat article reported that, after launching only 18 months ago, the Silicon Valley mobility startup Lime has managed to raise a staggering $382 million in venture capital, for a reported $1.1 billion valuation. The report cited Bloomberg News and Axios reports, noting that this level of funding speaks to the company’s ambitions for its bike and scooter-sharing services, but also to the massive costs and frenzied competition it faces. This update was preceded by Lime’s announcement of funding in February, when it reported it raised an additional $70 million as part of its Series B extension round. California-based Fifth Wall Ventures and others participated in closing the round, which brings the total amount of funding raised by LimeBike, which rebranded to become Lime in spring, to $132 million to date. 

By partnering with local key stakeholders and systematically deploying a fleet of smart-bikes (regular bikes, electric-assist bikes, and electric-scooters) that are enabled with GPS, wireless technology, and anti-theft locks, the company reports it is improving urban mobility by making the first and last mile faster, cheaper, and healthier for riders.

The electric mobility industry has gained momentum and coverage, as well as causing a certain degree of civic angst, over the past months. Lime and other mobility companies have gained the attention of city leaders as thousands of electric scooters have rolled onto the scene across the country over the past year, as noted in a June news update. With multi-mobility becoming a top trending issue across the smart city scene, efforts by companies and city planners continue to generate attention and make news nationwide.

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