Lime selected by City of Richmond to operate e-scooter and e-bike share

Sep 13 2021, 10:58 pm

Staff with the City of Richmond have selected multinational micro-mobility giant Lime as the operator of its public e-scooter and e-bike share pilot project, taking advantage of the company’s economies of scale and latest technology innovations.

Next week, in a public meeting, Richmond City Council is expected to approve staff’s recommendation to approve the contract with Lime, which comes at zero cost to the municipal government.

Lime expects it will be able to launch the system about four weeks after the finalization of the contract and execution. The contract is for an 18-month term, with an option to extend for further 18 months. Lime will pay the municipal government an annual licensing fee plus a per device administration fee.

There would be an initial test area within Richmond City Centre, framed by the Fraser River’s Middle Arm, Alderbridge Way, Garden City Road, Blundell Road, and No. 2 Road, with a total fleet of 153 e-scooters and 63 e-bikes.

If the initial test area is deemed a success, Lime will expand its service area to span most of Richmond’s populated areas, and serving key points of interest such as public waterfronts, community centres, shopping malls, and SkyTrain Canada Line stations. The fleet in this next stage of expansion would grow to a size of up to 500 e-scooters and 200 e-bikes, but if demand warrants the fleet size could ultimately expand to up to 1,000 e-scooters and 500 e-bikes.

lime e-bike berlin

Lime e-bikes in Berlin. (Shutterstock)

To address the issue of scattered devices in public spaces, commonly reported as a nuisance within Lime’s other operating jurisdictions, the company plans to create marked parking corrals for e-scooters and install lockable bike racks.

Each e-scooter and e-bike is equipped with GPS, which provides the ability to track the real-time locations of the devices.

The parking corrals and bike racks will be geo-fenced to require users to end their rides at these designated locations. Before riders can end their trip, they must upload a photo to the Lime app to show that they have correctly parked their vehicle.

lime richmond parking stations

Artistic rendering of parking stations for Lime e-scooters and e-bikes in Richmond. (Lime/City of Richmond)

Additionally, Lime staff will make an effort to resolve a report of a damaged device or one that is parked in a non-compliant manner within 15 minutes and no more than one hour of notification by the public or the city.

Richmond’s bylaws stipulate e-scooters can operate with a maximum speed of 20 km/hr on roadways and 15 km/hr on shared paved pathways.

When the user takes the e-scooter into a no-ride zone, the riding speed will be automatically reduced to a walking speed. This is determined based on the vibration of the riding surface, and GPS capability of the devices to enable geo-fence technology.

At the end of the ride, the e-scooter user will be sent an email and in-app message that provides educational materials, and an image outlining when and where the illegal sidewalk riding occurred. For those who continually ride on sidewalks, mandated education will progress to fines and account deactivation.

To use a device, there will be a $1.15 unlocking fee at the start of a trip, then $0.35 per minute. Daily and monthly passes will also be made available. All users must be at least 18 years old.

Each e-scooter and e-bike is equipped with a LimeLock that allows the device to be tethered to a fixture, and comes with a helmet for the user that is affixed to the device’s on-vehicle helmet lock mechanism. The devices and helmets will be charged and sanitized on a daily basis.

The city also selected Lime for its customizable user application available in over 20 languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese, which are Richmond’s top languages other than English.

Lime e-scooters electric scooters Valencia Spain

Lime e-scooters in Valencia, Spain. (Shutterstock)

The procurement process of selecting an e-scooter operator this past spring led to the submission of proposals by seven different companies.

Lime’s Canadian operations include Kelowna, Edmonton, Calgary, and Ottawa, and this past summer it launched an e-bike-only service in North Vancouver and West Vancouver.

Richmond’s partnership with Lime falls under the provincial government’s broad pilot program that tests the feasibility and safety of e-scooters on roadways.

This past June, the City of Vancouver also approved changes to its bylaws to allow e-scooters to operate on select roadways, bike lanes, and pathways, similar to what is being planned by Richmond. However, Vancouver stopped short of moving forward with an e-scooter share program due to safety concerns.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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