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.

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)

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  1. My mum was having fun on one yesterday. Something I thought I’d never see. If someone born during WW2 is happy using one, I’d say the mobility it offers is pretty good.

  2. You’re spot on about pedestrian amenity in the area. The great feeling you get when using the bus to get there soon evaporates when you start walking around.

  3. gonna be interesting to see how crowd funding the recharging of them goes.

    In two weeks will our streets be littered with flag scooters?

    If one goes flat while you are riding it, are you really going to lug it along and recharge or just tag off and walk the rest of the way.

    I couldn’t see how much they pay you to recharge the scooter.

    1. You have to sign up to be a charger (Juicer). It’s not every end-user who is expected to charge scooters.

      Payout starts at minimum $7 per scooter, can go up to 15ish as time goes on.

    1. Wow these bigger upright shaft than I thought from looking at the pictures. Son bought one home via train & up the hill to home so went flat just before home. A registered charger drove past tracking it to pick it up, started to make beeping sound for him to find it.

  4. Tried that yesterday.

    It is quite expensive to use it daily. It is like 30 cents per minute plus $1 fixed cost. Which is $19 for one hour.

    For that money people can get a taxi, or drive and pay the parking.

    A few improvement needed:
    suspension of the scooter – Auckland sidewalk are generally poor condition.

    Uphill torque:
    Auckland is quite hilly, the scooter struggling to go to upper queen st at reasonable speed.

    Downhill brake:
    Going downhill like upper queen st is dangerous. The brake keep locking up and the grip is unsafe for the speed. Suggest to add anti lock brake and synchronised front wheel and real wheel brake.

    1. How much do the lime scooters actually cost per hour me and a bunch of my mates searched up and read on how much it cost only to ride them around for 1 hour and 30 miutes to be charged not only that $5 coupon at the beginning but later minusing $48 from all of our accounts. Who do we contact about this issue??

  5. I wrote a letter to Kiwi Rail today.
    I am writing about the amount of rubbish beside the rail tracks at the Auckland rail stations. Mainly plastic bottles.
    I was at the Papatoetoe Station today which was particlarly bad with maybe 200 old plastc bottles beside the tracks. I think many tracks haven’t been cleaned for several months. Maybe 2 people could tidy about 10 stations in a day.
    But I must compliment Kiwi rail on the increasing amount of greenery alongside some tracks

      1. I wish something would be done about the ever increasing amount of tagging on the rail
        corridors. It was under control for some years but it is now open season again.

        Whose responsibility is it ? ACC, AT, Kiwirail ?

  6. Also traffic light phasing is too long for pedestrians.

    The mayoral drive/queen st intersection wait time can be 2-3 minutes for pedestrians.

    The cost of using lime and waiting at that traffic light is one dollar.

    1. Queen St is brilliant for pedestrians. Elsewhere though you are better off taking your chances jaywalking if you dont want to add a ton of time to your journey.

      1. The queen st intersections for mayoral is not brilliant. There are growing number of pedestrians due to new apartments, new retails and language schools. However the pedestrian wait time is still very long.

        The signal phasing should be reviewed to give higher priority to pedestrians.

  7. I think you’d be better surveying the success of the recent new network roll out on the Shore in the next few weeks rather than the predictably questionable efficacy of e-scooters on bumpy North Shore footpaths. I would say that the people who use the buses, particularly those who don’t go into the CBD, are far from happy. And the much vaunted frequency benefit form the new network matters little if a) the bus doesn’t really go where you want to go and b) the buses don’t show up in any case. This morning 2 856 buses in a row were cancelled, so a 45 minute wait only to endure a 25 minute traipse from Castor Bay to Taka via the hospital. I am thinking of throwing in the towel and driving. Not an encouraging start.

    1. If they can be incorporated into our Transport Infrastructure, same as when bikes finally will then they will be a great alternative to cycling and I’m sure personal ownership over shared rides will go up. Right now, until we have some serious data on them they seem a bit gimmicky… although much more palatable than their predecessors of Segways etc.

      1. Lying on the only footpath on the street where people might want to walk, presumably until somebody drives out here to collect it. Seems like they are destined to become the new shopping trolleys.

        1. So why didn’t you pick it up and move it out of the way to make it easier for people to walk past?

  8. Yes the footpaths, the very very poor cousin of the roads. Depending on where you go;

    More often than not below average to appalling surfaces
    Taken over by cafe furniture, signage, road works signs for motorists (even more ironic), dogs on leads, trees, cyclists, arseholes who feel the need to park their cars across the entire path in a drive or pull in front of you and nearly run you down and friends and family who feel the express need to walk shoulder to shoulder to chat meaning you either take them out, NFL style, or walk on the road or mud to avoid them. And their close relative, the morons who walk blindly reading their cellphones without a clue they are are about to collide with you or anything.

    And now E scooters doing 25 km/hr at ya. Yessss!

    What can possibly go wrong?

    1. I found this tweet and it’s quite relevant to your comment: “Omg you almost got hit by that cyclist on his phone!

      If you had crashed, you might have had to put a foot down on the ground and say ‘excuse me, no after you’.

      Oh, the humanity!”

    2. Just spent three weeks in San Diego and LA where they are everywhere.

      Seen two people on them get hit buy cars.

      The law gher says they MUST be used on the road and not a footpath, have a helmet on and be at least 18 years of age to use.

      Seem them dumped in sand, rivers, garbage bins and the ocean.

      People talking here of banning them soon.

  9. Just another piece of the puzzle to more transport choice and bringing the network closer to everyone. A great addition.

    Sounds like the price needs to come down and if so, could really see them being popular if only because no helmet is required. But regardless, for short trips, I could see a lot of people taking them over a more price competitive option (e.g. 10min ride, $3 scooter v $1.90 bus) just for the fun, on a nice day. I would.

    E-bikes could boom in Auckland with all the cycle-lanes being rolled out, but the helmet law is always going to stifle its potential

    1. I think the price needs comes down to be competitive.

      It is just too expensive to use daily. The alternatives are cheaper.

      1. I am guessing when the onzo ones arrive the price will drop. In the meantime they can recover the capital cost of the scooters.
        I look forward to taking one for a spin and can see them as great for short trips. And I am one of those evil SOV people.

  10. I am so pleased to see scooters being used for real transport. They no longer a kids Toy.
    I used one every day to get from Glenfield to work in Takapuna, and rode that same road.
    I used the bike lanes as much as I could and sometimes the footpath.
    I find the footpath after the cycle lane ends at Anzac St real rough even with my scooters 10″ inflated tyres. Which the lime scooters don’t have.
    I chose the scooter over a E bike purely to be able to take it on a bus.
    I paid $900 for my I max S2 scooter and have done nearly 1700km on it now, and the battery is still like new.
    Just a warning, the tyres are small and have a smaller contact point then a bike, so as I found out in the wet is that it will slip out from under you even faster then a bike. But my tyres have lost most of the tread.

  11. According to the Stuff article these can do 27km/hr. The EU limit for an ebike is 25km/hr. These are reasonably fast, jumping or falling off at 27km/hr will probably not end well.
    A bicycle has to have two brakes, by law and for safety. The Lime scooter only has one, on the rear. Is this safe enough for Aucklands hills?
    I think the charges are too high to be affordable beyond novelty use. Picking the scooter up to take it away for charging also sounds expensive. A swappable battery would allow more in service time, as reduce the size of vehicle required for service.

  12. I was just told by my son that his school (Auckland Grammar) have banned students from riding the scooters or Onzo bikes to school (and possibly at all in school uniform), presumably because they don’t want a stack outside. This seems really short-sighted to me. If they set aside an area on the (super wide) footpaths they might find lots of students using ad hoc transport like this to get to school. It would be good to see demand established to the point where a dedicated bike lane on Mountain Road would make sense. Dreams…

    1. The school’s in an area where change isn’t welcomed. They’re probably more concerned about reports coming back of scooters terrorising pedestrians. I wouldn’t hold your breath for progressive decisions from their management – on social issues they’ve gone backwards about 30 years from where they were 30 years ago.

      1. Hey, didn’t they get the rainbow tick recently?

        And O’Connor made all the teachers don corporate attire.

        1. That’s good to see – I hadn’t seen that bit of progress. I can’t see the “cutest couple at the ball” award going to a gay couple at the Grammar Ball, though. Can you?

          Don’t the teachers always have to don corporate attire? 30 years ago you could wear hair down to your waist. Now, it must be a certain length. Not too short, and nothing vaguely close to looking like it needs a trim, let alone long. And the boys must not have facial hair, it’s way too intimidating for a teacher who struggles in Movember. 🙂

  13. The exaggerated quantity of street furniture has exacerbated the problem of bad footpaths, which is making you exasperated.

  14. Meh. Looks fun. Great for well-heeled hipsters who can afford it regularly. Not so much for ordinary folk other than to give it a go once.

    Can’t wait to see all the ACC claims coming in about fast moving scooters hitting small bumps. I just hope they stay out of the bike lanes where AFAIK they are not legally allowed.

        1. Oh yeah. Well that’s stupid. It is the ideal place for them. What about non-electric scooters?

          I see why I was confused, as Lime itself states in its ts & cs: “Limes can be ridden on streets, in bike lanes and on bike paths. Please respect all traffic laws and do not ride your Lime on the sidewalk.” – so completely inaccurate.

          I would say they have just copied and pasted from another country and not bothered to update.

        2. Firstly E cycles and now E skateboards and E scooters. They are cheap, (relatively) and the last two, a uniquely portable, form of motorised transport that has suddenly arrived.
          E scooters have also arrived in bulk with hire by the hour.
          Potentially they will become incredibly popular.
          This new mode interacting the existing street use will have a profound effect that has not been foreseen in current street design and traffic regulation. Potentially also they will displace a lot of the one tonne plus SOV’s along with their emmisions and space hungary storage requirements.
          Footpath, cycle lane, cycle way or roadway? Speed regulations? lighting and warning devices?. Insurance and ACC obligations?
          Their rapid increase in popularity and versitility poses an even greater regulatory and street space challenge then autonomous cars. They are here now, potentially on every bit of our paved space.
          It is therefore urgent for the Government and Councils to assess appropriate regulation and street design.
          Overall though I think their effect will be game changingly positive, although it may be a while before you get me one.

        3. I suspect disruptive innovative technologies are only recognised by the establishment if they serve the establishment. Anything else is just a bother.

        4. E Scooters have considerable potential for last mile trips to and from public transport.
          Either as privately owned that are folded up when travelling with their owner on public transport, or rented scooters at each end to extend the reach of PT. Much cheaper for all then the provision of Park and Ride carparks. The easy response is to severely restrict their use to preserve existing street hierarchies and existing commercial and societal arrangements. This would be a mistake. I think we have to proactively decide how to integrate them into our transport options. Unlike just removing the driver from expensive and space hungary SOV’s they may well represent the new bicycle of the 19thC and the “people’s car” of the mid 20thC

        5. Just to clarify from this article: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/107572115/new-electric-scooters-allowed-on-footpath-and-road-but-not-cycle-lanes

          “However, it’s only “cycle lanes” this applies to, and not “cycle paths”, which are physically separated by a barrier or are off the road altogether. ”

          So separated cycle paths like on Quay Street are OK but not cycle lanes like on Lake Road. I can’t see the logic there. Especially when the NZTA guidelines you linked to state that riders on the road should stay as far left as possible – which will inevitably put them in the cycle lane.

        6. Mad, eh? Drivers will really want to see the scooter riders sticking to the law by not going into the cycle lane but remaining in the general traffic lane. And they’ll think, poor scooter riders, having to be out here with us.

          Or those that use the footpath instead of the cycle lane. I’m sure the pedestrians will think, poor scooter riders, having to be here where it’s dangerous because of the driveways, and all bumpy.

          Emergency law change required? Or shall we have the Police fudge enforcement, like they do for so many of our stupid laws?

        7. The only logic I could come up with is:
          They know how dangerous a non separated painted green on a road cycleway is in NZ (& they are generally in busy roads or they wouldn’t of bothered)
          You don’t have to wear a helmet like a cyclist.
          Result is who in their right mind would still use one on a busy road, ie they want to make them use the pathway in these situations.
          Also when the law was made there probably was very few separated cycleways in NZ?

  15. I had a go on one today. I was waiting to transfer from the 27x to the 25x on Mount Eden Road near the train station, and checked the app on the off chance there was a scooter nearby. Took some minor faffing to finish the sign up process, and two girls on scooters passing by helped the old geezer (me) unlock it and work out how to start and stop. Crowd sourcing at its finest!

    I found the performance to be a bit erratic (very slow to start, and then would suddenly speed up) and the one brake lever didn’t inspire confidence. The pavements in Auckland are REALLY bad, and the poor thing grounded several times on the way home. I wasn’t confident enough to ride it near any people, so would just stop and walk past them and get back on. I guess with more practice I would feel more stable on it. It cost $3 to ride 1.6km, as opposed to the free in-zone transfer on the bus.

    So, as per other commenters, it was a novelty but too expensive on a daily basis.

    1. I think you just need to look at it as yet another option. In most cases it might not work for you, but its there for times when it will.

      There is no silver bullet. Or the silver bullet is, in fact, lots of different choices.

      1. Agree. Sometimes around the city I need to get places fast for work. Cost is not a concern. The current best option is Uber (if I don’t have a bike). I can see these would be a good alternative.

        1. I think its also, on occasions, a chance to have a bit of fun with your commute.

          Nice day, cruising along outside with the breeze in your face, people watching. I’d pay a bit extra for that sometimes.

  16. I’m loving the new scooters!
    The Westhaven Drive promenade boardwalk at 25 kph was quite the boneshaker
    Agree you have to go hard on the brakes on the downhills, yikes
    Also bottomed out on some crossings, tactile paving is hazardous & warning: the deck swings round and whacks you on the ankle if you pull it off a kerb without watching!

    Code for $3 credit: RYKVQVT

  17. If it’s got a motor it belongs on the road( or cycleway). They are vehicles. Footpaths, albeit often crappy, should be just that. I’ll allow manual scooters and skateboards but with penalties(i.e. confiscation ) for carelessness.

    1. Lolling at confiscation!!!! Those pesky kids on those new fangled Skateboards!!! Are you suggesting disabled people on electric wheelchairs go fizzing down State Highway 1? It has a motor..

      Anyway, not sure about Queen Street Valley but around the Viaduct and Victoria Qtr (Spark building etc) these have been unbelievably popularand are clearly being used for business commuting etc. Saw at least 12 different people using them between Market Place and Victoria Street in the space of 5 minutes Haven’t seen any crashes or collisions yet.

      I’m sure as more data develops along with our cycle ways we will develop our best practice codes for their use..

      Bring them on I say, feels more like a City…

  18. And as expected already we have Phil Goff requesting a “report” … based on the inevitable idiots and retards that spoil every innovation for everyone else. You cant cater for the lowest-denominator FWit who’s stupidy is guaranteed. These scooters are great as J P Magon says… I hope the PC brigade dont cave in to the clowns.Used one in Devonport to get to the wharf and back. Superb !! .. when you have a community with some sense ….

    1. If we used the same criteria about danger and overall contribution to the public health bill involved with driving, as some people are trying to do for scootering, we might get somewhere.

      1. Exactly. People online getting all outraged that a scooter might cause a pedestrian to be injured. Meanwhile cars kill dozens of pedestrians ever year but that’s just the price of doing business, right? And the same people agonizing over scooters travelling at 25km/h will I am sure be opposing the 30km/h speed limit for cars.

      2. From my observations walking around the CBD this week these concerns are fair. While cars are a danger and should have a lot more restrictions on them in residential and retail areas, I can at least mitigate that by being careful and assuming that they will run red lights.

        I’ve seen e-scooters ridden past doorways and through narrow gaps between people on the footpath at full speed. This is much harder to mitigate as a pedestrian.

        1. Walking is “the fundamental unit of transport” according to AT. Absolutely it needs priority over everything else. And if road space was reallocated, there wouldn’t be any problem with e-scooters…

          It’s an innovative emerging technology; it’s a sustainable low-carbon solution; it’s getting people out and active and increasing access in a space-efficient way. It should be sweeping out the cobwebs of car priority and bringing in new space organisation of our city.

          And I’m glad neither of my sons has a smartphone, so they won’t be using them. 🙂 I hate those little wheels.

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