Last Friday Auckland Council temporarily revoked Lime Scooter’s licence, due to a series of mechanical faults that caused some scooters’ wheels to lock up – leading to a few pretty nasty crashes and injuries.

Auckland Council bosses have today suspended Lime scooters’ license temporarily and warned the company to rectify a safety defect or risk permanently losing access to the city.

Council bosses met representatives from the Lime this afternoon to discuss safety concerns before announcing the suspension.

Dunedin was quick to follow in Auckland’s footsteps and withdrew Lime e-scooters with immediate effect late this afternoon.

The decisions follow a number of recent incidents, some of which have resulted in injuries, caused by the wheels on e-scooters unexpectedly locking.

Auckland Council chief operating officer Dean Kimpton said Lime advised that it has identified 155 reported irregular braking incidents that may have been caused by the unexpected locking issue.

Ninety-two of these were in Auckland. Of these, 30 resulted in injury.

Following this explanation, Kimpton said Lime’s license had been reviewed and temporarily suspended.

“Myself and Auckland Transport chief executive Shane Ellison have given careful consideration to the most appropriate next steps.

“We have been clear with Lime representatives that the equipment used on our transport network must be safe for use,” Kimpton said.

As of yesterday, the ban hadn’t been lifted as the Council and Auckland Transport were still unconvinced the issue had been resolved.

We have been really supportive of Lime since they launched late last year. This includes supporting them through some rather silly objections – and pointing out the hypocrisy of some in being super-concerned about Lime scooters while hardly batting an eyelid at the 300 people killed per year by cars on the country’s roads.

While our support of e-scooters as a great new addition to the transport mix remains unchanged, Lime have behaved pretty irresponsibly over the past week or so, both before and after their license was suspended. Unlike other safety issues, the most recent problem appear entirely caused by faulty equipment and Lime should have responded like we would expect a car manufacturer to (or any other product maker) – by temporarily suspending their operations (the equivalent of recalling vehicle models with a fault), checking their equipment, getting it tested independently and only then starting back up. By essentially ignoring the issue it was inevitable the Council would act the way they have.

Lime made things even worse for themselves by subsequently setting up an email spam of the Mayor and Councillors, which has enormously backfired. Highly supportive councillors like Richard Hills have just been annoyed by this approach:

So has Mayor Phil Goff.

Over the weekend, Lime prompted users via its app to contact the Mayor and Councillors. More than 4000 did, but Mr Goff said it’s been a waste of everyone’s time.

“I got 4000 or some damn thing emails over the weekend. None of that is going to influence the decision – this decision is not about politics, it’s about safety.”

It will be interesting to see where things go next. Maybe a more responsible e-scooter company might fill the gap left by Lime, or maybe Lime will return with a more responsible approach themselves?

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70 comments

  1. Onzo have an escooter service prepped. Clearly they’re waiting for Lime to crash and burn but they’d better be talking to the authorities right now to ensure there isnt a ‘ban’ that prevents them from deploying an ‘attractive’ market gap-plugging offering.

      1. Being in an IT-related profession, I find it kind of horrifying that such a powerful brake is in the control of an internet-connected device. Who thought that was a good idea?!

        1. If they locked up the rear wheel instead, it would just do a skid. Locking up the front wheel just seems to be asking for trouble. Like that time as a kid when someone poked a stick into the spokes of your front wheel…..

    1. “It’s a software fault rather than a mechanical one”

      You only have Lime’s word that it is a software (actually all they have said is its a “firmware”) problem.

      Until that fact of it being software only is independently confirmed by 3rd parties I’d not believe whatever Lime say about this issue.

      More than likely it is at heart a faulty sensor which in conjunction with some software that is triggering the problem.
      So replacing the software on the device or whatever they are doing may not provably be enough.

      The fact that Lime has dragged their heels getting the promised information to the Council, time and again indicates to me they don’t actually have a good handle on the issue. Don’t know the scope of the issue, don’t know when or why it occurs, can’t figure out if its all scooters (or as they seem to hope) a random set of bad scooters. And if it is a random batch they have no idea which of the 1000 or so scooters have the same issue or not.

      I’d bet these faults are (a) more prevalent than Lime have admitted (b) harder to resolve than it first looks (c) may not be able to be demonstrably resolved until the newest “G3” models are rolled out.

      After all they first got wind of it in Switzerland over a month ago and took all the Limes off the Swiss streets immediately.

      So its not a “new” problem or “sudden” as Limes people would have you believe.

  2. Yes the council hasn’t banned e-scooters as such, they have banned Lime scooters because they are crap. Would be nice for a new company to offer a higher end scooter such as the Xiaomi. A lower price would be good too – Lime’s pricing is too expensive for regular transport use.

    1. Whilst you and I consider the price too high, many thousands disagree with us 🙂

      Not sure how good the Xiaomi is, not looked into it, but the whole Lime debacle had the stench of corporate arrogance. The fault became known last month (or earlier) and Lime did nothing, even though they used a different model scooter in some overseas territories. For them to blatantly attempt to mislead the council and/or detractors by claiming that this issue is “new” is nothing short of arrogant and dismissive.

      I personally love the idea of micro-mobility and think that scooters have a part to play in the concept, however I’m not keen on how many times Lime scooters have been left obstructing the pavement.

      1. I find them far easier to step over or move than the cars that are left on footpaths, vehicle crossings and verges. I can safely say I have never had to step onto the road or into mud because of a lime scooter, whereas that often happens because of cars.

        1. I agree. Lime & some of it’s users for that matter have not acted overly responsible but the double standard of the council, organisations & others is annoying.

  3. When I was a kid my scooter had a brake on the rear wheel and when i got my bicycle it had the same , so why don’t these have the same ? . As this would be the simplest solution as with a brake on the front wheel what would you expect safe riding not or can’t they afford a longer brake cable to go to the rear wheel .

    1. Auckland’s models of Limes (2.5) do have a rear mechanical drum brake. The front wheel is the motor, and is able to use electric braking, and even do a complete electric lock-up which is engaged when you have not unlocked the Lime via the app.

  4. On one hand I have no issue with them. The predicted Armageddon to pedestrians has not materialised and they are practical, actually an alternative to any other form of transport and fun.

    On the other they are expensive to rent, it appears there is NO one maintaining them as that would cost money and these scooters are in a position to have plenty of damage occur at any time. Every other business who provides vehicles to the public have to jump through hoops and hurdles. I saw one, for hire, with the front caster bent meaning its handlebars would struggle to self centre, in the least. Furthermore it pisses me off the fabulously wealthy Uber-Lime operate a business on our streets but pay nothing for privilege and leave us to pick up virtually all costs. Corporate capitalism at its typical bludging best Ask any motorcyclist how it feels to be stung for ACC for the risk but then wonder why Lime pay nothing.

    And Christine Fletcher. She has a near miss and Lime are in the cross hairs of the upper echelons of AT and AC forevermore, to be exterminated. Should it happen an ordinary Aucklander, tough titties, and good luck calling anyone at the Auckland Council who would give a flying shit, ever.

    Christine, your conflict of interest and placing your grandeur before all others is rather off putting.

      1. Some good points. I have gained more empathy for the disabled after fracturing my ankle and hobbling around in a moon boot for weeks. Twice I narrowly avoided getting hit by Lime riders, and being (temporaily) mobility impaired made me that much more vulnerable.

  5. The advent of extra light and low powered (less then 300w) has been faster then our roadway design, space allocation, road rules, and ACC systems have been able to adapt. But these vehicle types, in conjunction with “new thinking” roadway allocation and additional facilities to park and store them, offer a huge opportunity for more viable transport alternatives to the one or more, tonne SOV. We just need to plan properly to accomodate them and their users.
    The review needs to be comprehensive discarding the current obsolete , pedestrian, cyclist, motor bike, light vehicle and heavy vehicle classes. Bodging these to accommodate these new vehicle types has been a mistake. Cyclists must wear helmets at all times but scooterists on a less stable vehicle do not!
    Instead new classifications are required dependant on loaded weight, speed capabilities. (this gives the available kinetic energy in a collision) and stopping performance for a start.
    It is a national issue so should be tackled nationally rather then adhoc local adaptations, but given the NZTA’s woes this is probably beyond them in any sort of reasonable time. So some work needs to be done now, they are not going to go away and will probably be a much more important part of our transport mix.
    Issues that need addressing are for all vehicle types , speed limits, load limits, any protective clothing requirements, lighting and warning devices, all dependant on the type of passageway being traversed.
    A suggested passageway classification is:
    Footpath, without adjacent cycleway
    Footpath with adjacent cycleway
    Designated shared path.
    Non separated cycleway
    Separated cycleway
    Urban roadway without footpaths both sides
    Urban roadway with footpaths both sides
    Urban roadway with both footpaths and Cycleways.
    Further commercial operation of hire scooters, cycles and skateboards should be subject to ACC levies commensurate with risk.

      1. User fitness regimes could also be required, both physically and mentally…. There are some complete dicks out there on scooters and skateboards. Let’s face it, some people just don’t have the nous to scoot.

        1. Also a lot of those think that they are 10-foot tall and bulletproof and anything that will happen will be to the next person .

        2. There are some complete dicks out there end of story. Dangerous on a scooter lethal in a SUV. Often the same entitled people “get out of my peasants”

  6. I find it surprising that this fault has cropped up in Switzerland weeks before the first case in New Zealand and these scooters were taken off the roads in their entirety, immediately, to be fixed individually. There was no whining from Lime there.

    Also interestingly, Switzerland is now looking at charging Lime for the use of ‘public space’. They are basically saying that the Limes, when parked (on the footpath for example), are taking up public space for which the company is currently not paying a cent. This could be about to change.

    1. Christchurch is looking to charge Lime about $82.50 per scooter per annum for the same reason – using public space for scooter parking.

      For Lime in Christchurch at 1000 scooters deployed (the maximum number their trial and likely permanent license allows), thats a total cost of $82,500 per annum. chicken feed for both Council and Lime.

      Restaurants in Christchurch end up paying more “per chair” than that annually to use the footpath. So Lime is getting a cheap deal. at that price. Should be paying closer to $1000 per annum per e-scooter for use of the public space.

      1. The dumb clowns at the CCC should negotiate on the basis of a small % of revenue/scooter, that way incentives are aligned, i.e the more kms the scooters travel the more money they make.

        1. I agree that its not just Lime customers “that are going for a ride” – courtesy of Lime.

          CCC should wise up for sure.

          But Lime is like a drug pusher – once the population is “hooked”, the threat of having to go Cold Turkey sends the Council minions into a bucket of cold sweat, so they buckle faster than a Lime Scooter being ridden by Gerry Brownlee.

        2. I think it’s called a tax on revenue! So what’s your percentage of choice ? 33% seems reasonable as it’s what many of us pay on our earnings.

    2. We don’t know if Lime was whining in Switzerland as we only have limited reporting, I bet you haven’t read any local Swiss media in their local language only a few news reports in international media like techcrunch

        1. Hi Matthias – can you link a good article about what happened there? (I’m hoping google translate will help, but you may be able to advise there, too.)

          1. I think this article sums it up pretty well – https://www.watson.ch/schweiz/basel/512230041-nach-unfall-serie-lime-zieht-in-der-schweiz-alle-e-trottis-aus-dem-verkehr

            Basic translation, after being made aware of a technical fault with the limes (3 reported accidents). Similar to NZ, the scooters would suddenly put on full brakes while at speed. Only after ‘Watson.ch’ reported the 3 accidents with Lime did they take action. Lime promptly collected all (300 in Zurich and 250 in Basel) scooters to be checked and repaired.

            Another article as a follow up also reports the accidents in New Zealand – https://www.watson.ch/!391291283

            According the the articele, Lime pulled the scooters off the street on the 8th of Jan, but as of the date of the article (26th of Feb) have not returned them to the streets. Seems to me that the fault is not just as easy as a quick software update.

          2. I wonder if those 300 they pulled from Zurich are the same ones that have been added to the fleet in Christchurch today ?

  7. As a professional who works in the Emergency Department in Auckland Hospital I am glad the Limes are gone. This frees up space for people who genuinely need the service of the ED.

      1. I was thinking more like all the extremely out of it Synthetic Cannabis users and the intoxicated to the gills with booze types that end up getting in fights, or other situations that they’d normally avoid if they weren’t so boozed, that invariably infest any ED in large city hospital most nights.

    1. The fact that a self-proclaimed ED staff member feels the need to tell people that people injured using a Lime “don’t genuinely need (their help)” – well that makes me worry. And I thought we had a no-fault insurance system, and a Vision Zero system, rather than a victim-blaming attitude.

    2. Glad others have replied. I was going to say “like the over weight people having cardiac arrest & other health issues from living a lethargic lifestyle driving cars & not commuting by active mode?”

    3. Don’t see anything wrong with the comment. It’s about resources. Time and money spent fixing idiots who crash their scooters is time and money that isn’t going towards other emergencies in our strained health system. That’s our tax money being spent on these people that could have been avoided.

      I’ve seen so many idiots on lime scooters, doing the stupidest things.

      But you can’t put the genie back. Ban Lime and people will just buy their own. To be honest I’d consider buying one if I didnt already own an e-bike.

      1. Yeah, think of all the other legitimate emergencies that might get passed over, like people in car crashes (31,000 per year) or rugby injuries (64.000 per year).

        If you are really worried about money being spent fixing idiots injuring themselves in ways that could have been avoided… ban rugby.

  8. Little old NZ definitely got the short end of the safety stick for the last month or so. As reports of safety issues via sudden front wheel lockups had been coming in for a while here, and Switzerland gave them the heave ho in January for the same issue.

    You kind of wonder if NZ was probably being used to determine the scope of and then test the fix for the Swiss and other markets. Our No fault ACC system probably encouraging that corporate behaviour as they couldn’t be sued if anyone got killed or injured.

    Lime continued the rollout of the exact same model in Dunedin that was causing problems in Switzerland even though they knew by then that model had this fault.

    That poor girl who got seriously injured in Dunedin late one night, in January possibly got affected by this problem. Lime’s not saying publicly, the cops won’t release the scooter to Lime as its evidence, and the girl can’t remember much about what happened.
    But it is a rather odd loss of control situation that happened down there on someone who states they were not drinking alcohol that night.

    Lime is really showing just how bad a corporate citizen it is.
    Taking pages and whole chapters from Facebook’s and Uber’s files on corporate shittiness, denials and malfeasance.

    Lime needs to learn, that running a business of e-scooters for hire is a privilege not a right. And peoples trust in them is a lot easier to break than one of their e-scooters.

    These present Lime e-scooter models are just gussied up consumer models with features like locking wheels, GPS tracking and warning sounds being added to make them halfway practical for commercial hiring as Lime does. But at the heart they are not designed for the uses they are being put to.

    I think all e-scooters operators need to demonstrate that their models are safe and remain safe for the public to use. After all we put other commercial hireage transports like Taxis through the hoops requiring tougher WOFs (COFs) than regular road users need. So why not e-scooters? For all operators.

      1. Nope, she **worked in a bar** (i.e. behind it pouring drinks for others) but does not drink, and she said she did not drink any alcohol that night.

        But has said she was tired from working that night, but who isn’t like that at the end of a long day/night?

  9. Having the front wheel lock up when power level drops below a set point was pretty stupid.

    Parked limes have got in my way a number of times, parked in the centre of cycle lanes, and on an overbridge. It was getting to the point where I was considering shifting them.
    When I’m cycling I see them wandering about, not keeping left, not checking for whats behind them at any time, and normally wearing earphones oblivious to their surroundings.
    As a pedestrian I’ve had them passing at speed in close proximity.

    I’m expecting helmet law and a 10km/hr footpath speed limit. If there is to be a circumstance where they’re allowed above 10km/hr (like on the road), I also think front and rear mechanical brakes should be mandated, like for bicycles.

    1. If a Taxi or bus has no valid COF its off the road. no arguments. Until its get a valid COF.

      Same should apply here. as this is for commercial hire.

      Not lending your mate your dodgy-as no brakes with shonky tyres & steering ute to get some beers from the off-license.

      1. ? and a death in a private vehicle is any less a death than one in a commercial vehicle ?

        My point is wider. We happily kill an airplane’s load of people each year on the roads each year but jump up and down when a few scooters don’t work.

        1. So what if private cars are killing people – nothing new there, been happening for 120 years.

          I agree with Don below – when its hireage for money, then a higher standard can and does apply.

          Imagine if under your plan, Airplanes needed no warrants to fly either and plane-loads of paying people on them were being killed all the time through mechanical failures?

          Someone would (and does) rightfully expect a higher standard to apply.

          Sure, any old Tom, Dick or Harry [even you] can hire a plane (if they have a license) or build their own in their backyard, and go fly it (and them) into the ground or a hill, a tree or the sea if they choose and/or fail to drive it properly.

          But when they start taking/charging paying customers, TOTALLY different story.

          True for Buses, Taxis, Airplanes, so should apply to Lime, Onzo, Bird et al.

          1. NZ road users pay fuel excise tax & vehicle registration tax thus they are customers of a paid service and should expect the same level of service as a bus or taxi user.

            People don’t only kill themselves on the road, they kill other people.

          2. Your argument is specious as hell.
            Just because someone pays a “road tax” doesn’t make them (a) a customer of some service or (b) require them to be treated the same as every other road tax payer or road user despite them being very different types of vehicles or performing vastly different roles in the transport system.

            Commercial trucks [and buses and electric/alternative fuel taxis] all have to pay RUCs as well as ACC and registration – so should everyone else on the road be treated the same and made to do likewise too to satisfy your view of the world?

            Well I am sure most NZA private vehicle drivers will truly appreciate being lumped in with these “commercial” vehicles and want to pay higher fees, to have to get regular COFs on their vehicles instead of WOFs just ‘cos you think that’s a good idea and makes a level playing field for all – because they pay some “tax” mostly for keeping the roads in order and secondly ACC levies to keep themselves in order when they have accidents or hit others.

            While COFs for all might on the surface save a few lives, its just as likely many of those private vehicle owners will just as likely skip the process and not bother with getting COFs at all and because they can’t register their cars, skip the registrations as well.

            But coming back to the original issue.

            Lime, Bird, Onzo etc they are “pay for play” hirers, just like a Uber, Lyft, Taxi or bus operator is.

            Ergo they should be subject to minimum safety rules above and beyond the safety standards that “privately” operated vehicles of the same class are subject to.

            There is no sensible argument against that you can make. And its the way our transport systems are run, here and elsewhere in the planet.

      2. As soon as it is for hire, it is normal throughout more mature legislatures, that more rigourous standards apply. NZ is probably unique in that our ACC system transfers all costs of accidents away from a contestable legal compensatory system to a no faults law. In Limes case what a wonderful transfer the entire injury cost risk away from an overseas owned commercial enterprise to the New Zealand taxpayer What a wonderful subsidy especially when we had no system to pick up and sanction against the use of clearly defective and dangerous vehicles.
        However the answer is not to ban such vehicles, their benifits are potentially huge, it is to devise a rational system to manage them safely in conjunction with other competing uses of transport corridors.

  10. As a % of total rides, the problem seems to be tiny. Can’t see what the fuss is about. If the anti-theft device is locking the wheel in some circumstances then yes it should be fixed urgently when affected devices are identified.
    There were a number of reports where the riders saw that the wheel was intermittantly locking, and continued to try and ride the scooter at speed. So can’t say I have much sympathy for those clowns

    1. If steering wheels on Buses where randomly locking up sometimes and causing buses to crash into things – but for a small portion of buses on our roads, would you think a laid back “ok, just fix it as each fault appears” attitude would be appropriate there too?

      I think you’d expect that AT [as organisation paying the contract] or whomever runs and maintains the Buses would immediately stop all their buses for that company, and investigate/sort out every bus at once as soon as the first bus had the problem – so it never even happened again to any bus – whether a bus was full of passengers or only had a driver in it.

      If drivers continued to drive such buses after the steering wheel started playing up, then thats a secondary issue. But not the most important issue – the steering wheels shouldn’t lock up in the first place.

  11. I have been concerned that the action of Lime to try and screw a really cheap licensing arrangement in Christchurch; and throwing their toys out of the cot in Auckland over the safety issue, smacked of corporate bullying, so I emailed them on the weekend.

    ” I note that many companies have a gutless approach to interacting with their customers and your website is no different. Where is the “Contact Us” email provision – the one that allows you to know who you are communicating with, and allows you to copy yourself in on the email you are about to send.
    I am unimpressed by your campaign of company inspired bulling directed at our local Council representatives. You have an unsafe product. You have cost our ACC over half a million dollars. Fix it and then maybe your license should be restored.
    I say maybe because the license fee that you have offered to pay in Christchuch is miniscule. Your company has caused significant injury to NZers and therefore your starting point should be to pay the cost of this.
    Less and less your company is looking like a good corporate citizen. Smarten up or move on!”

    And the reply…..

    Ana C. (Lime Rider CX )
    Feb 22, 23:46 PST
    Hi There,

    Thank you for reaching out to Lime customer support and leaving this valuable feedback! I relayed your message to our local Auckland team. If you have any additional questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to reach out, we’re always ready to listen and happy to help.

    Have a great day!

    Thank you,

    -Ana C.
    Lime

    And then the follow up. from Lime…

    Thanks again for reaching out Lime customer service. We’d love to hear what you think of our customer service. Please take a moment to answer one simple question by clicking either link below:
    How would you rate the support you received?
    Good, I’m satisfied
    Bad, I’m unsatisfied

    How could Lime (or LimeRider CX) reasonably think after their first reply that I might be in any way satisfied?

    I thought when Lime came to Auckland it would be a useful addition to the leisure sector; never a serious commuter transport solution; but adding colour to the city. Now I am not so sure.

    1. Thanks John. Had a bit of a depressing afternoon today out there in the arrogant carnage that our city has become. Thanks for relating this. The absurdity of the facile PR talk makes me laugh.

    2. John,
      The reality is these are automated customer email management systems that spit out a survey after every contact with a customer service team or helpdesk.
      They’re not really designed for responses to curmudgeons who want to delve into business ethics and discuss the relative merits of the ACC system. This would obviously require a response from someone further up the chain, or people who can discuss things of an operational nature.
      There is nothing a customer service rep can do than forward such a commentary onto the relevant business area, and leave it to them to followup.

      1. MrV
        My expectations were higher, but I quickly realised what the message was. It turned me from a person who was a little negative about Lime to one who is much more so (“the Cadbury effect”). My immediate response was to search for a Lime to tie to any tree in Takapuna with a sign attached, “corporate bullies,” to convey my message. It seems that the scooters had already been collected.

        Running campaigns using social media, or the media can be a two edged sword.

  12. Powered scooters have no place on our footpaths. It is bizarre that approval was given in Auckland without any reference to elected members or the wider public. To me the real safety issue is for pedestrians (not just the disabled or blind) on our footpaths who move at a considerably lower speed and should not have to watch out for scooters hurtling past, frequently at uncomfortably close quarters. Ever since we first heard of Lime scooters Walk Auckland has been seeking an opportunity to voice our concerns and until last week were completely ignored – now we have been belatedly advised that our organisation will be included in the review that is about to get underway.

    Please can some of your contributors stop accusing critics of being hypocrites or similar abusive terms – I thought that this was a moderated blog that frowned on ad hominem attacks – let us debate the real issues.

  13. First I’ve heard of the spamming. That’s just wrong. I’d be pissed off with 4000 emails in my account. I’d ban them for that act alone (officially for safety reasons of course).

  14. I love reading the protectionist attitude of the neo-libs on here pretending Lime is god. It’s not, it’s a multinational pedaling poor quality product on streets and footpaths of New Zealand. If it’s like Facebook, Uber and Google, it won’t pay much/any tax in NZ and employs very few people here.

    It also had regulation changes to allow the pest of its (no non) vehicles roll all over our foot paths on crowded city ones at that! No public consultation, tax payers propping up its business though ACC and supply of footpaths for which it pays no rental.

    Lime in its current form needs to end here, now.

    1. Lime scooters are the cockroaches of the footpaths and the company behind it is probably only here because our daft ACC system means they can’t be prosecuted. The person who allowed these on out footpaths should be publicly humiliated.

    2. I’ve heard the ‘not paying much/any tax here’ thing before. Why is that? Have we set up our tax rules somehow to allow overseas companies to not be taxed as much as local ones?

      1. Its complicated.
        But they’re only taking a leaf from the same book as Uber, Google, Facebook, AirBnB & Apple too.

        Our Tax laws let these companies do this, but so do most other countries these companies operate in allow that too. So the companie take full advantage of their “lite weight” physical presence to avoid taxes easily.

        That is they deliberately structure their operations to have little to no physical presence or staff/employees in NZ and all the profits made are “off-shored” into as low a tax-haven country that they can get away with. As soon as they can.
        Via their electronic payment systems. With high “platform fees” being charged the local operation so that they make a minimal profit so owe little if any tax in NZ.

        Lime riders do pay GST on their rides I’ve read, so the Government gets that at least.

        However ratepayers and tax payers still carry the bulk of the very real cost of allowing Lime to operate. Especially with these present “trial licenses” which are got for what is really token/Monopoly money in license fees.

        So right now councils get zero, to very little money, from Lime/Lime riders, in return for allowing Lime and their riders to use the footpath and other public spaces. While then also having to allocate resources to license, and then monitor/police Lime operations and users. Christchurch is about to start charging Lime $86.26 or so per annum per Lime scooter deployed. Which is still a pittance really. Considering the money Lime is allegedly raking off those scooters currently.

        ACC levies are not charged to Lime riders directly, nor Lime itself – so there is the fact that they don’t contribute any ACC levies currently, despite being a definite [i.e. non-zero] additional burden on the ACC system to the tune of about $600,000 so far (and thats not even 6 months into their operational rollout, nor a full rollout) and that ACC cost will only increase especially as the longer term rehabilitation costs of ACC kick into place for many of the more seriously injured by Limes so far.

        Juicers are being paid [presumably as self-employed sub-contractors] to charge and collect/reallocate Limes around, so far Lime says $1.5 million has been spent that way with NZ juicers.

        Who presumably will pay some sort of income tax on that money, again all of that is going to Central Government. However, that remains to be seen. For all we know, many of the juicers may well be overseas visitors on working holiday visas, who are simply pocketing the money Lime pay them to work as juicers. Not paying tax and intend to be gone from NZ before the IRD comes looking. The IRD could force compliance better by making Lime deduct withholding tax on all Juicer payments, thus ensuring some Tax is collected on those payments.

        While Lime are a seemingly offering up a novel transport idea, e-scooters are simply a tool, to allow Lime to simply privatise [and ultimately, monopolise] the public spaces, for profit, while leaving the costs to be socialised amongst everyone in NZ in various ways. Which is pretty much exactly how Uber and AirBnB to some extent works too.

        So whether the net benefits of Lime or other e-scooter operators to NZ Inc are bigger than all the dis-benefits (both direct, and indirect benefits/disbenefits) is not at all clear at the moment.

        And while Lime say they offer a real last mile alternative to driving (or Uber!) that truly remains to be seen.

        I suspect the actual impact of Lime in reducing such “road space demand” is to induce/encourage lot more e-scootering – but without necessarily causing an equivalent/commensurate reduction in other forms of road space usage e.g. driving SOVs.

        So right now, it is a case of trying to cram more vehicles (whether bicycles, e-scooters, buses, cars, trucks) onto the same finite road space. With the overflow of e-scooters ending up invading the (previously somewhat) sacrosanct footpaths used by pedestrians.

        If everyone took to Limes en-masse our roads might look a lot different. and Lime might be seen as a saviour not a mixed blessing.

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