Overseas e-scooters have very quickly become a disruptive player in urban transportation in many of the cities where they’ve launched. Being powered and relatively easy to use and taking up even less space than a bike, they’re ideal for short trips around cities. Yesterday Lime launched their shared electric scooters in Auckland and Christchurch.
Lime e-scooters are being unleashed onto the streets from tomorrow, with 600 scooters distributed across Auckland and 400 in Christchurch.
New Zealand Lime launcher Hank Rowe said NZ has been a priority market for some time following the company’s success in markets across Europe and the United States.
“We have carefully considered how to maximise the benefit of our e-scooters in New Zealand,” Rowe said.
“The advantage of our e-scooters is they work together with existing public transit by allowing increasing the accessibility of public transport so people can rely less on personal cars.”
Yesterday I had a work meeting up the road at Smales Farm and needed to get back to Takapuna so it was a perfect opportunity to give one a go.
Below are a few quick thoughts
- I really liked that I didn’t need to sign up to an account with all of my personal details, I just needed to enter my phone number, accept a confirmation text and then enter my credit card details.
- It’s great just being able to jump on and go as no helmets are needed (even though the app says to wear one)
- I used the most direct route to get back to Takapuna, travelling along Taharoto Rd. But because I was effectively a pedestrian, I got held up for quite some time at the intersections while I waited for permission to cross – in one case having just missed the pedestrian phase. Of the 10 minutes it took me to travel the 1.9km it felt like about half of that was waiting at lights. That’s significant because Lime charge users at 30c a minute and so about half of what I paid was for waiting at a traffic light. At $3.30 it was clearly much more expensive than just taking the bus ($1.90) – and there are plenty them between those two locations.
- I ride along Taharoto on my way to work, and did so yesterday morning but being on a bike in an (unprotected) bike lane, I knew it was bad but I never really appreciated how truly crappy the pedestrian environment was along there. While drivers are given plush treatment with many wide lanes to choose from and regularly resurfaced with smooth asphalt – and the road is deserted wasteland outside of peak times – the footpath is often narrow, patchy and uneven following being dug up numerous times. Then there’s all the other street furniture like poles and (new) bus stops which have only exasperated the problems. I suspect I also noticed them more being on a small, hard wheeled vehicle as opposed to just walking. I guess the point of all of this is it gave a new appreciation for those with mobility issues.
- In addition to above, I did use the painted bike lanes for some of my journey and given the speed and riding position, they generally felt a more appropriate location to use than riding on the footpath. At the same time it felt less safe than when I ride those same lanes on my bike. I feel this wouldn’t be such an issue if we had protected bike lanes and perhaps we should consider e-scooters when building those lanes. It also means those bike lanes become even more useful and valuable to our city.
- Ending my ride, locking and leaving the scooter was easy although I saw a number of people reporting problems with doing so and being charged quite a bit for their travel.
- Overall it was a fun and useful experience but not something I think I’d often find a use for, especially at current prices.
— Timmy (@gallicist) October 14, 2018
Finally a bit of blatant self promotion, if you want to Lime a go, you’ll need the app. If you use this code when it asks, you’ll get $3 to use (and so will I)