Lime: E-scooters in Canada
The dockless bike and scooter sharing company, Lime, is becoming the first startup to scoot into Canadian territory.
Lime has struck a partnership with the City of Waterloo, as TechCrunch first reported. According to the pilot programme agreed between the City of Waterloo and Lime, the dockless mobility company will be allowed to dispatch up to 100 scooters now, a cap that will move to 150 scooters in 2019. The scooters will be available in a specific area, which Waterloo calls the “living lab” area. This includes the David Johnston Research and Technology Park (“R&T Park”) and extends slightly into the Idea Quarter district and runs along the Laurel Trail to the Uptown Promenade, as the relevant documents reveal. The City of Waterloo aims to use these scooters as a last mile solution - the data collected by Lime will be available to the City and will be used to provide insights into potential amendments to the current Highway Act legislation.
This is not the first time Lime is migrating some of its scooters out of the United States. It has previously landed in Europe, in cities like Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and Zurich. Interestingly, the pilot will only operate during parts of the year. Starting today, the scooters will be available through November 30th, 2019 - they will presumably be removed from the streets and be reintroduced on April 1st, 2019, all the way through to September 30th, 2019. The timing is a response to the weather conditions plaguing the Canadian city during the months of December - March. As the pilot details reveal, the scooters will be removed from the pilot route each night and will not operate during poor weather events.
Finally, the majority of scooter-related costs will be borne by Lime, although the City has agreed to contribute towards signage. There are currently no scooter-specific parking spots in the area - the city explains that the scooters can be parked anywhere on public or private property, but “they work well when not obstructing travel routes (e.g. trails and sidewalks)”. Another interesting point in the pilot details is the possibility of designating specific parking spots for these scooters, should the pilot project prove successful. Similar areas have been created in Santa Monica, although the Californian city was proactive in creating such parking spaces ahead of the pilot launch. Waterloo takes a rather untraditional position - one could argue that the success of the programme won’t be properly assessed given the lack of proper parking places.
It will be interesting to see how scooter-sharing unfolds in a city with such heavy winter - particularly given the intermittent operation of the programme. Will Waterloo citizens rely on the service, or will the long winter pause keep them from embracing the dockless carriers?
Photo Credit: Lime