Good news yesterday with Auckland Council announcing they would extend Lime’s e-scooter trial till the end of March – it had been due to expire this coming Monday. Along with the extension, Lime will also be implementing some changes, such as having roving ambassadors and more education about the use of them.
The Lime e-scooter concession for Auckland has been extended until the end of March.
In considering the extension, the council had considered its ambitions to be a smart technology city, reduced car dependence and environmental outcomes, as well as safety concerns, Auckland Council chief operating officer Dean Kimpton said.
“We’ve taken [safety concerns] into account when we’ve thought about the extension to the trial so the sort of things … we will work closely with Lime on will be around ambassadors, roaming ambassadors providing education, information, reminding people of safety, pop-up tents and locations where we can inform people.
“We will look at how we can better manage speed – what are the options, the technology options. We will reflect on – with Lime – how we extend that trial and what conditions might be put in place around additional Lime scooters in other parts of Auckland because there is a demand for that.”
“It’s been fascinating, the significant uptake of e-scooters, and this is not just in response to Lime, it’s also in response to people’s interest in different modes in transport. We’ve seen e-scooter growth through private ownership as well,” he said.
It’s good to see the council and Auckland Transport being open to new ideas as we’re seeing the opposite occurring in many international cities. As Patrick recently wrote, there is a transport revolution underway and it’s not driverless cars or even electric cars but small, electric powered mobility devices like e-bikes and e-scooters.
Lime is certainly changing how many people get around and in their year-end report noted that there had been 105,000 riders since just mid-October.
This was backed up at the press conference yesterday by Lime’s representative who said that Auckland has been one of the best markets for them with one of the highest numbers of rides per fleet size.
All of this isn’t to say we should be cheerleaders for the company. Personally I think they’re for many trips they’re simply too expensive, especially if your trip could just as easily be made by PT, although perhaps it’s not too bad if you are comparing it with the cost of a taxi. It’s not always possible to find one charged where you want one. I also suspect the charging model, paying by the minute, helps encourage some of the more dangerous behaviour as being held up by lights or pedestrians translates to a monetary cost so they get ridden faster and/or more aggressively – the one time I have used them, half of my 10-minute journey was spent waiting frustratingly at traffic lights. I think having some competition in this space could help with some of these issues but Onzo is still yet to launch and Bird is rumoured not to be doing so anymore.
While on the subject of Lime, they rolled out in Dunedin yesterday with the mayor making this comical statement. He is aware there are students in the town isn’t he?
— Newshub (@NewshubNZ) January 9, 2019
Of course, it took less than a day for it to be done
— Newshub Breaking (@NewshubBreaking) January 10, 2019
Back in Auckland, one of the issues we’ve had is some news organisations have taken it upon themselves to sensationaliae e-scooters and attempt to portray them in a negative light any time they can. The Herald have been one of the worst at it and this was also highlighted yesterday with this article. The original headline can still be seen in the tweet where they imply a lime scooter was responsible for a coma when in reality it was an unrelated heart attack.
Kiwi football legend Wynton Rufer out of coma after Lime Scooter accident https://t.co/xBgzGgF5F6
— nzherald (@nzherald) January 10, 2019
It would be interesting to compare the number of articles written about lime scooters with the number written about nearly the 400 deaths and 10,000 serious injuries annually on our roads.