Lime scooters are seemingly everywhere, including in dozens of cities across the United States. Lime has even begun international operations in France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Spain.
Now the California-based electric mobility company is adding one new country to its list: Canada.
Lime electric scooters enter Canada
Lime has recently entered into an agreement with the City of Waterloo to deploy electric scooters in designated parts of the city.
The company’s electric scooters are part of the relatively recent wave of dockless electric rental scooters. Because the scooters have no home station or dock, they can be picked up anywhere.
Rides generally cost $1 to start and 15 cents per minute. When a rider has finished using the scooter, he or she can park it anywhere. The scooter then waits for the next rider to scan in and hop on.
Lime is teaming up with the University of Waterloo to rollout the electric scooters. The scooters will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in Canada. If successful, scooter operations may begin expanding throughout the country.
According to Lime’s Vice President of Strategic Development Andrew Savage:
“Over the past several months, we have spent time in Waterloo to understand how our Lime-S e-scooters can help this progressive city reach its smart transportation goals. We are committed to meeting the unique needs of cities across Canada and are excited to continue expanding our global footprint.”
So far, no other electric scooter startup has established itself in Canada, giving Lime the distinction of being first in the country.
Nearby Toronto is the largest city in Canada. That makes it a good starting point for electric scooter companies seeking to expand their international presence.
However, large cities have had some of the worst problems with electric scooter share programs in the US.
San Francisco notoriously banned electric scooter sharing companies earlier this year. The city then created a permit program, ultimately leaving Lime and other large electric scooter companies out of the mix when it allowed Skip and Scoot to begin scooter share operations in the city.
The decision came as a significant blow to Lime, who claimed that the city showed unfair bias against the company. The move came at a contention time, with Lime already being forced to compete with a growing number of electric scooter share companies, including relatively smaller companies such as Skip and Razor.
One of the biggest problems with electric scooter share companies in the US hasn’t been the companies itself. Rather, the scooter riders and their brazen disregard for the law have often created friction in cities.
Many pedestrians loathe the scooters due to riders zipping around sidewalks and causing near misses.
Additionally, scooter riders often ignore the company’s instructions for riders to park the scooters out of the way of pedestrians. Instead, scooters are often left laying around on sidewalks, causing tripping hazard and obstructions to the handicap.
It will be interesting to see if Canada’s stereotypically polite society can avoid such problems and respect public space better than their neighbors to the south.
Additionally, Waterloo may choose to follow Long Beach’s method of creating designated scooter parking zones in specific locations. These areas painted on sidewalks are used to provide a safe and out-of-the-way location to leave dockless electric scooters. Such zones help mitigate problems between scooter riders and the rest of the public.
What do you think about the dockless electric scooters? Let us know in the comments below.