Micromobility a month on from Lime's arrival
It's been more than a month since Lime arrived in Auckland and Christchurch, with the sudden appearance of e-scooters in our two largest cities unleashing a raft of headlines and commentary.
Shortly after 'landing' it felt like every news outlet was reporting daily on how the cities were adapting to Lime's arrival - what the e-scooters were like to ride, the accidents that were being caused, the money to be made. The initial "drop" was 600 e-scooters in Auckland and 400 in Christchurch, with the company licensed for up to 1000 in Auckland and 700 in Christchurch.
So, did all the coverage translate into uptake? According a Lime press release, since they first popped up on the streets of Auckland and Christchurch there has been over 500,000 rides and 150,000 unique riders. That is in cities with a population of 1.614 million and 374,900 respectively.
Lime Launcher Hank Rowe acknowledges the safety concerns that have been raised and says the company will address these at the first Asia Pacific Safety Summit at Eden Park next month.
"While we take all incident reports seriously, we are glad to say less than 0.5% of Lime rides in New Zealand have resulted in injury," he says.
"The Summit is part of Lime's US$3 million investment in reinforcing the importance of rider safety and responsibility through its campaign "Respect the Ride".
Howe also notes that Lime has enabled independent contractors to earn up to $150 a day as 'Juicers' collecting scooters at night and charging them in their homes, and then returning them to the streets the next day.
New Zealand cities were the first in Asia Pacific in which Lime launched its services. It is just one of several micromobility companies that have appeared in the last couple of years. Originally from San Francisco, Lime has spread quickly across the globe, and is targeting other cities in New Zealand, as well as in Australia.
"We have received numerous requests for more scooter pilots to be launched and we are in conversation with a number of cities discussing how Lime can benefit their communities," Howe says.
Lime was founded in June 2017 and is currently valued at US$1.5 billion. In recent days it has been reported by Silicon Valley news service The Information that Uber is looking to acquire either Lime or rival Bird in a multi-billion-dollar deal.
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