Lime (transportation company)

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Neutron Holdings, Inc.
Private
Industry Bicycle-sharing
FoundedJanuary  2017 (2017-01)
FoundersToby Sun
Brad Bao
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California
Websitewww.li.me

Neutron Holdings, Inc. dba Lime, formerly LimeBike, is a transportation-rental company, based in the United States. It runs bicycle, scooter, and car sharing systems in various cities. The systems offer dockless vehicles which users unlock via a mobile app. Lime's charges typically start at $1/1€ for a 30-minute ride on the traditional bikes, while its fleet of electric bicycles and electric scooters in America cost $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute.

History[edit]

LimeBike was founded in January 2017 and raised $12 million in venture funding led by Andreessen Horowitz in March 2017.[1] The company's first location, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, launched in June 2017 with 125 bicycles.[2]

LimeBike expanded in July 2017 to the cities of Key Biscayne, Florida, South Bend, Indiana, and South Lake Tahoe, California.[3][4][5] On July 27, 2017, LimeBike launched with 500 bicycles in Seattle, Washington, becoming the city's second bikeshare operator.[6]

The company closed a Series B round of venture funding in October 2017, announcing that it was valued at $225 million.[7] A $335 million funding round in 2018 led to a valuation of $1.1 billion for the company, making it a unicorn.[8]

In November 2017, LimeBike announced NFL running back Marshawn Lynch as one of its brand promoters, partnering with his company Beast Mode Apparel.[9]

In May 2018, the company announced that it would rebrand as "Lime" and partner with Segway to produce new scooters.[10]

The city of Coronado, California impounded over a hundred Lime bikes in 2018, and the company had to pay $9,300 to recover them in July.[11]

In August 2018, the company signed a deal with Uber to provide them electric bikes for the expansion of their Uber Bikes service.[12]

Controversy[edit]

Deaths[edit]

Lime's scooters have caused deaths in Austin[13], St. Louis[14], Washington D.C.[15], and Dallas[16]. Lime's user agreement attempts to avoid liability: it requires users to agree that Lime's "products are machines that may malfunction, even if the products are properly maintained, and that such malfunction may cause injury."[17]

Product recalls[edit]

Lime's scooters have been the subject of multiple recalls. In October 2018, weeks after internal concerns "about whether the company was doing enough to address safety risks with its scooters,"[18] Lime recalled thousands of scooters for "smoldering, or in some cases, catching fire.[19] In November 2018, Lime again recalled more scooters on reports that the scooters could "break in half".[20]

Poor relationships with cities[edit]

Lime has been criticized for its approach towards municipalities, including ignoring local laws. In February 2019, a Lime user was placed in a vegetative state after Lime's app instructed her to break local law on riding scooters.[21] In September 2018, Lime sued San Francisco for denying it a permit after Lime had previously began operating in San Francisco without permission and received a cease-and-desist. [22][23] Lime has received cease-and-desist letters from numerous cities, including Reno,[24] San Francisco[25], Indianapolis[26], and others.

Lime does not require users to verify their age, allowing children to ride their scooters.[27]

Relationship with Definers[edit]

In November 2018, TechCrunch reported that Lime had engaged Definers Public Affairs, a PR firm known for spreading "anti-semitic conspiracy theories" about George Soros[28], to send "mudslinging pitches" for Lime about its competitors. [29]

Environmental damage[edit]

Lime has been criticized for its environmental practices. In St. Louis, after removing its bicycles from the city, thousands of Lime bicycles were found in a landfill instead of being recycled.[30] They were cut in half and unable to be salvaged.[31]

Equipment and usage[edit]

Lime-S electric scooter in Little Italy, San Diego, California, USA (Sept 2018)
A van used to collect and move scooters at night, in Emeryville, California.

Lime uses green-colored commuter bikes equipped with GPS units and 3G connectivity.[1][32] The bicycles also feature a front basket, a solar panel, and a smart lock. A mobile app is used to locate nearby bicycles and scan a QR code to unlock bicycles, which play a short chime.[1][33] Rides cost $1 for every 30 minutes of use.[1]

As of October 2017, Lime had 150,000 users.[34]

At CES 2018, Lime announced that they would begin a trial of electric bikes in San Francisco.[35]

Shortly after the release of Lime-E (electric bikes), Lime-S electric scooters were also announced.[36] In April 2018, these scooters were the subject of controversy after Lime left several hundred of them on the streets of US cities without the permission of municipal authorities;[37][38] public criticism of the project increased in June when it emerged that the scooters were programmed to play a recording of the message "Unlock me to ride me, or I'll call the police" repeatedly, at high volume, when their controls were touched.[39]

In May 2018, the company announced plans to begin development of transit pods, small self-driving electric vehicles.[40] Lime applied for car-sharing permits in Seattle in October 2018 and later launched a service in December 2018 with a fleet of Fiat 500 Lounge cars branded as "LimePod."[41][42]

Locations[edit]

Lime-E electric bicycle in Berlin

Lime currently operates in the following cities:[43]

United States[edit]

Lime also operates on the following US college campuses:[43]

And the following international campuses:[43]

Outside United States[edit]

Australia[edit]

Austria[edit]

Belgium[edit]

Canada[edit]

Chile[edit]

Czech Republic[edit]

Denmark[edit]

France[edit]

Germany[edit]

Greece[edit]

Israel[edit]

Mexico[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

Poland[edit]

Portugal[edit]

Spain[edit]

Sweden[edit]

Switzerland[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Malden,[45] and with Spin: Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Needham, Newton, Quincy, Revere, Waltham, Watertown, and Winthrop.[46] Dockless bikes are excluded from the Hubway operating area.

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Newsom, John (June 1, 2017). "Green machines: New bike share program gets its start at UNCG". News & Record. Greensboro, North Carolina. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  3. ^ Diaz, Johnny (July 24, 2017). "What are those bright green bikes in Key Biscayne? It's LimeBike, new bike sharing program". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  4. ^ Parrott, Jeff (July 7, 2017). "Bike-sharing company LimeBike is coming to South Bend". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  5. ^ "New bike ride share program to start in South Lake Tahoe Saturday". South Tahoe Now. July 11, 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
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  7. ^ Carson, Biz (October 16, 2017). "LimeBike Now Valued At $225 Million After Investors Go All In On Bike-Sharing Craze". Forbes. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  8. ^ Robinson, Melia (July 10, 2018). "Uber, Google and top VCs just poured $335 million into scooter startup Lime — here's why one investor thinks it's the future of commuting". Business Insider. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
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  46. ^ Vaccaro, Adam (April 13, 2018). "Thousands of dockless bikes headed for Boston's suburbs". Boston Globe.
  47. ^ Repko, Melissa (August 4, 2017). "Is Dallas shifting gears? LimeBike, Spin join Big D's bike-share market". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
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External links[edit]