Lime have been operating in Auckland since October last year. Six months. I know, is that all? It feels like they’ve been around a lot longer; e-scooters just seem part of the city now. So as they are seeking to renew their licence to operate I asked them if we could run some data. And it’s all pretty interesting, especially when mapped.

First it’s important to note that Lime are now not the only operator, and there has been a huge increase in privately owned micro-mobility devices on the streets too. So the data that follows is only partial for the city, which just makes the numbers all the more interesting.

Here’s the impressive first six months of Lime in Auckland:


And where are these trips?

As with other cities around the world use is focussed on the city centre and related metro-centres, where demand is highest, below is the general pattern of where they target charged devices each day:

Obviously the operators try to match supply with demand, trying, in real time, to hit the Goldilocks of sufficient scooters to met searches, but not so many that utilisation rates are low:

And this is the resultant use pattern; they sure do get about, check out at Tamaki Drive, and Dominion and Manukau Rds:

And where have these trips come from? Are they new trips? Substituting other modes? Extending existing ones?

Lime say that 22% of users report replacing car journeys in Auckland. In the following report from Christchurch, scooter hires replaced car journeys at around 25-30%, but replaced walking is the biggest at 40%. Interestingly 19% report making an entirely new trip because of the option:

And what are people accessing on this mode?

Lime offered these quotes to illustrate use:

What really interests me apart from scooter hire offering a fascinating example of real world latent demand; the revelation of a desire for a movement option that we didn’t know was there, is the information that Council and Auckland Transport are now getting from scooter share operators about desire lines in our city.

These new journeys are taking place in a quite literally crowded market place, with users having to squeeze onto either crowded footpaths or carriageways; neither of which is ideal. E-scooters are neither a great fit with pedestrians nor traffic for obvious if opposite reasons. Except where competing traffic is sparse, which is largely not that case in central Auckland, or where there are dedicated lanes for them.

The resultant desire lines look like really clear evidence of where we need to add the missing ‘3rd space’ of micro-mobility lanes: Bike lanes, essentially, for all sorts of these intermediate devices; not on the footpath, nor mixed with motor vehicles. And happily, going by the example below, these are pretty much the routes the cycling and walking experts and advocates have long proposed for the city: Quay, Queen, Karangahape, Victoria, Symonds, Beach:

Of those of course Quay and Beach have had very successful separated lanes added in the last few years. Karangahape is due to get them added any day now, Victoria St is also in the works somewhere though seems to have fallen into the ubiquitous cycle lane delivery hole. Of the routes above the obvious omissions are Queen and Symonds Sts. Here for example is an AT map from a few years ago:

Symonds St seems permanently stuck in the bus versus bike lane problem, as the key access route for both city centre universities clearly it is extremely important for both modes. Hopefully Auckland Transport’s corridor programme will be coming up with solutions for this key bus route, and desirable micro-mobility one.

Queen St however is suddenly in a much more positive position, Access For Everyone, the City centre access transformation process, offers the chance to quickly and cheaply re-purpose a current general traffic lane into this kind of route, through the trials required by Council due to start this year. As well as the option of transforming existing parking bays as bike/scoot parking.

So who loves them, who hates them?

UMR did a survey in Auckland, revealing a pretty clear age spilt:

Interestingly reports suggest the Christchurch trial face a lower resistance and higher popularity than in Auckland. Aside from topography I suspect that the reason for this is simply more space, fewer people. Lower level of competition for all types of area; footpath, bike lane, and carriageway.

  1. 5.5  Public reception
    1. 5.5.1  There has been a wide range of feedback through multiple communication channels since the trial began. The trials in Christchurch and Auckland, and Lime’s recent roll-out to other locations, have gained significant media and public attention.
    2. 5.5.2  From the Council’s e-scooter survey 75%of the respondents think that the e-scooter trial has had a positive or very positive effect on the city. A similar number (74%) of respondents felt that e-scooter share companies should probably or definitely be allowed to operate in Christchurch after the trial.
    3. 5.5.3  People that had used the e-scooters were much more likely to view them positively and feel more comfortable sharing space with the scooters on the footpath and other public spaces.
    4. 5.5.4  A random, but representative survey sample o fChristchurch and Auckland residents was also undertaken. Auckland residents are more mixed towards the impact of shared e- scooters on the city, while Christchurch residents are more positive overall. This may reflect differences in implementation and/or supportive infrastructure provision in the two cities.

Which again makes the conclusion, also from Christchurch paper, even more relevant in Auckland:

It looks reasonable to me that the operators contribute to a fund to help pay for this work, and interestingly Christchurch City Council charges about twice as much as Auckland: $86 per year per device. Which of course won’t fund any bike lanes directly, but could cover a salary of a dedicated micro-mobility member of AT’s team, depending on numbers deployed…?

In both cities authorities limit the numbers of scooters to what look like fairly arbitrary levels. I’m not really clear how they settle on the quantum, as it seems the operators have every incentive to not over supply as that would severely reduce their financial viability. I guess it would interesting to see what equilibrium the market would reach left to its own?

Lime report significant numbers of hires at Britomart in the morning weekday rush hour, clearly people are using micro-mobility hire with Transit, as a first mile/last mile enabler. It would be great to see effort put in to improving this option at the other end of the transit journey, at suburban stations. Again this would ideally come with much needed work on completing safe separated networks focussed on Rapid Transit stations. But this could start with the hire companies targeting stations which would yield useful data in the meantime.

To conclude, this experience reinforces the evidence from the e-bike boom that small electric devices look like the true disruptive technology in the urban transport space now. They offer a great many positives; low environmental impact, spatial efficiency, they can scale at low cost, evolve quickly, are fun. And are a good fit with longer distance Transit systems can and do displace some driving, especially in dense centres and for those troublesome short trips. And the negatives look like they are largely addressable through the provision of dedicated space for their use.

Santa Monica scooter parking

As it increasingly seems that car ride-hail is leading to increased traffic congestion and is taking trips form Transit, at least in the US, micro-mobility may well be a preferable one to encourage from a policy and city-quality point of view.

That this new mode replaces some trips that we’re previously walked, and generates new trips that previously weren’t taken, is also tremendously interesting. It will be fascinating to see where this disruptive technology settles.

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126 comments

  1. I’d be right against the follow, aged 60+ and view the scooters favourably. I doubt you’d ever see me on one (balance and health issues) but i think they add to the City Centre vibrancy; if we could just sort out the minority of unsafe users but as the old saying goes you can’t fix stupid!

  2. Scooters should not be on footpaths. They are disruptive (in the original meaning of the word) to pedestrian use of pedestrian spaces.

    As a pedestrian advocate I have heard from numerous older people that near misses from speeding scooters are putting them off walking on footpaths except for unavoidable and strictly necessary purposes. For such people a heavy fall can have tragic consequences – while they may survive a broken hip for example (in that they do not die immediately) their life thereafter may be limited in both duration and enjoyment of life (and these are connected). So self-preservation leads them to avoid the hazard, but then limits their ability to do the things they enjoy doing at the very time of life when activity is to be encouraged.

    I am intrigued by the surveys you reference – if respondents are mainly scooter users then where are the voices of pedestrians?

    1. No the UMR poll is population wide, not of just of users. Obviously older people are less likely to be users and seems to be reflected in the results.

    2. They are ok on quiet footpaths, they just aren’t ok on crowded footpaths. The sooner there is a lane for them in Queen Street the better. At that point they should be banned from the footpaths of Queen Street.

      1. I agree. And i think, as I say in the post, that that’s what the higher level of positive attitudes to scooters in CHCH to AKL reflects; tighter competition for space in the bigger, busier, more walked AKL city centre.

        Urgent need for lanes and parking bays in Queen St especially.

        A4E: Cheap and cheerful, get the cars out, buses down the middle… planters etc. Plan and sort service and delivery (and electrify). Taxi ranks and mobility parks to side streets. Done.

      2. Agreed we urgently need a scooter lane in the Queen st, high st, as well as Victoria st and Symonds st.

        Since the upcoming access for everyone is going to reduce cars in city including queen street, we could just use it as the opportunity to add a good numbers of bike/scooter lanes around city.

        At the meantime, Ludo could simply do some “Tactical Urbanism” and cheaply paint some temporarily scooter lane and measure its outcome.

    3. I think they should be speed limited on footpaths. For example a cheap camera on the front would be able to determine the surface type and adjust accordingly (although some Auckland City footpaths are tarmac for some strange reason).

        1. Flip it around then – go slow unless you know they are on a road. Surely road detection is pretty easy? Colour alone (is it black?) would probably pick 99% of NZ roads over footpaths.
          I guess dedicated concrete cycleways that aren’t easily distinguished by GPS would be problematic.

        2. Maybe you need a serious Level of Service system for footpaths so there can be some sort of standard we can expect.

      1. If we really want to save lives then let’s start with the most dangerous vehicles first. Obviously you must be 100% in support of cars being throttled to speed limits. And obviously you would have no time for bs arguments such as “needing to exceed the limit to get out of dangerous situations”

      2. The government confirming a 10km/h speed limit for footpath and non-helmet use would be a good start. It would set an expectation.
        Similarly reminding people of the prohibition of operating a vehicle while wearing earphones.
        And they need to be permitted to use cycle lanes for use above 10km/h.
        Having been much more of a pedestrian these last few months while recovering from being hit from behind by a car, I can say I feel very vulnerable to the majority of Lime users who speed past me and other pedertrians like some sort of slalom race. Tonight while waiting for the bus was I think the first time I saw a Lime user being considerate and going out of their way to not scoot around through gaps of people and actually stop and proceed with the flow heading in her direction.
        This busy area of footpath is always bad for Limes. I’d also comment that there is a marked cycle route/path on the other side of the road that they’re not using (bicycles don’t either, I’ve not seen anyone use it, thay all stay on road).

        1. But there is the challenge.
          10km/h limits or helmet-only laws would kill scooters overnight.
          They are popular because they’re faster than walking, and don’t have the hassles or danger of riding among rush hour traffic.

  3. The data is very interesting – from a cursory look and Patrick’s comments, there is potential for scooters to boost PT ridership, as they allow that “long walk” first/last leg, that cannot be readily (or desirably) catered for by PT, to be accomplished. Is the next step to integrate it with a HOP card? Could be good for AT revenues…

  4. Of those ‘unfavourable’, the real question to them is are you in favour of personal mobility devices that have seperate infrastructure?

    Can’t imagine there are that many people that simply don’t like them sake for a few petty arguments over tidiness.

    Personally I’ve used many many time before I bougt my bike and even suffered at the hands of the wheel lock up hurtling down Franklin Road cycle path. I think they are great and am quite certain they will be the future we need to plan for when it comes to short trip travelling.

  5. More people use buses. I’d like to think the push should be for bus lanes to reflect their major importance than for scooters, which according to Lime actually are replacing healthy walking options by 40%.

    I’ve been hit by someone going not too fast on a Lime on the footpath in Queen St. Usual “sorry” by the rider. Fine with me, I’m 34 and pretty well built. If he hit a frail person of any age it could be a different story.

    1. The push can be for both. They are complementary. And bikes having to use bus lanes was never a good idea. As Fred points out, scooters can push up PT ridership. And I believe this is what the data from the US is showing.

      1. I’d rather cycle in a bus lane than general traffic lane. Most bus drivers are courteous, wait and give room when passing. The same can’t be said for the general public. The public is also the largest hazard when using the bus lane, pulling in and out of side roads or driveways, and the classic turning left imediately in front of you. “Sorry”.

  6. Big fan of scooters, their low spatial footprint and sheer convenience – the key benefit of Lime et al is that they enable one-way scooter trips. And glad the raucous calls for a “level playing field” over helmets has subsided. I mean, where does that argument end? Mobility scooters? Zimmer frames? But good numbers here.

  7. If the design for Victoria Street has become stuck in the pipeline (surely there’s a pipecleaner at AT somewhere?) looks like it should get some test and trial love? A few planter boxes to take over a lane would go a long way.

    1. Not the reason but of note, It’s being subjected to wildeyed hostility from a group of landholders in the vicinity /facepalm

      1. Luckily the Local Government Act requires Council to plan for current and future generations of Auckland… not just current landowners, eh?

        1. Probably need a post about communities taking authorities to court for not responding to needs in the face of clear research…

  8. I’m thinking that 30km/h speed limits would allow e-Scooter to share the road with motor vehicles. This is the approach that works for safe cycling in Europe. It avoids the hassle/cost of building bike/scooter lanes.

    1. Bevan please. That only works for confident, mostly male, riders. The evidence is extremely consistent globally that the only way to grow cycling numbers beyond this hardy (or foolhardy) core is to provide safe separate infrastructure. A cost/hassle well worth every penny…

      1. But it’s certainly the first step that should be taken. It provides a much safer situation for many users, changes the driving culture, and boosts active modes so that there’s a bigger push for separated facilities. It allows better value-for-money decisions to be made about where to put the separated facilities first.

        And it makes the separated facilities work. Drivers coming out of side roads will continue to push into the cyclelanes for visibility and to cut down their turning distance, unless the traffic on the main road is slow enough to mean they feel more confident that hanging back at the stop / give way line will leave them sufficient time to make their manoeuvre.

      2. Umm, low-volume, low-speed streets without separated infrastructure are the backbone of the Dutch cycling experience (and elsewhere with equivalent “bicycle streets”, “neighbourhood greenways”, etc). We have plenty of streets where that approach would go a long way before even needing to think about separated facilities.

        1. Bollards are a great start, Patrick. It literally cuts unwanted through-traffic (I.e. rat-running) in half.

        2. Yep. Main cycleways running along arterials. Low-volume, low-speed streets to feed them, or create a shortcut. It’s not that hard to lower volumes: bollards.

        3. Bollards are a great start, Patrick. It literally cuts unwanted through-traffic (I.e. rat-running) in half.

        4. That makes low volume low speed routes the capilliaries and segregated routes the aorta: each are next to useless without the other.

    1. I don’t find it particularly compelling analysis for the simple reasons that:
      1. I’ve heard Lime etc work on a scooter lifetime of 3 months
      2. Scooters will have residual value even once they are conked out.
      3. Revenue and costs will vary significantly by city based on density / urban form etc.

      So my hunch is that scooters are much more commercially viable in Auckland than appears from that article.

      1. Yes it looks like their problem in that the scooters are breaking too often. I imagine that is a problem that can be solved.

        1. I would agree the current generations of scooters are likely unsustainable, but it’s such early days!
          I’m sure that street-proof scooters are feasible and will have significantly better lifespans and unit economics.

          Bird have released their Bird Zero model which is designed to be tougher, and Lime’s Gen 3 has also started to get rolled out. Will be interesting to see how their lifespans compare.

          My thoughts are that the ‘gig-economy chargers’ aspect is unsustainable and will also change drastically, probably resulting in charging docks pop up, with users incentivised to return a scooter to a dock where it is recharged.

      2. Hopefully the next gen scooters will be better.

        Eventually the scooter will be as durable as cars, which can last a decade with simple maintenance.

      3. The below video mentions the GEN 3 but ..

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt1Pcb2cnEw

        “Will these new, more rugged scooters last longer?
        Probably, but they’ll unquestionably be more expensive to manufacture, which means they’ll need to stay in operation even longer before the companies can begin to recoup their costs. It’s a Catch-22, and it’s not entirely clear that the scooter startups have a solution. “

    2. Just been emailed the below Youtube Link

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt1Pcb2cnEw

      “Electric scooters have been one of the biggest tech crazes of the last year, with venture capitalists pouring more than $1 billion into the startups. But the fundamental numbers don’t add up because the scooters don’t bring in enough money to cover their costs. If the business continues on its current path, the scooter hype might be short-lived. “

      1. Probably. And the same thing would be true of cars, I suppose, if we weren’t subsidising the mode so much.

        In Europe, it’s to the tune of 500 billion Euros per year. Whereas micromobility is a net investment. So yeah, we’d have to sort out some externalities…

        1. The difference with motor vehicles ( and privately owned bikes and scooters ) is that almost all are privately owned by the driver or the driver’s employer. The driver assumes at least some risk and/or expense in the vehicle maintenance/operation so it’s in the drivers best interest to modify their driving/parking/storage behaviour.

          That extends to point where if you owned an electric scooter, you wouldn’t leave it unsecured on the side of the road where it could stolen or vandalised.

          Maybe money spent on subsidising scooter ride service would be better spent on subsidising private ownership of electric scooters.

        2. The biggest shift in subsidy needs to be shifting it from the polluting and dangerous driving mode to the sustainable, healthy modes.

          The goal with e-scooters wouldn’t be to have everyone owning their own. Part of their appeal is in the share model. Being able to use them for just one leg of a journey. We have an awful lot of space literally ‘given’ over to carparking – we need to reallocate that to other modes, and some of it will be to scooter parking.

        3. I’m not sure what your point is. Even if you are right any work to build cycle lanes and other infrastructure would also be just as useful for privately owned scooters.

        4. @David Mohring it’s up to the investors whether they’re willing to fund a particular business. If you don’t have confidence in it, don’t invest. There is a degree of risk and uncertainty in any new business venture and failure doesn’t automatically mean it’s a scam. As an average punter, if I wanted to escoot in 2017 it would have cost me $1200, and now it’s only $2 – an unqualified good, whatever the status quo loving moaners have to say.

        5. In a nutshell you’re saying Lime is being irresponsible by having a business based on trusting others to not mistreat stuff? Then don’t let those bloody charities off the hook – by funding community facilities like gardens, playgrounds and clubhouses, all they’re doing is creating magnets for vandalism

  9. It seems traffic planners can and do seemingly grasp that in fact, e-scooters [surprise!] do induce additional demand for e-scooter rides. And they also grasp that the more infra. you give e-scooters – the more rides will be taken. Hence the no dissenting calls for more bike paths etc. Lime and Bird et al know this, thats why they are keen to get more scooters out there.

    Yet at the same time these same planners cannot translate that knowledge into the road space realm and show they appreciate nor demonstrate with any meaningful actions, that cars and e-scooters are no different and are basically flip sides of the same coin.

    So if you can and do see e-scooter rides massively displacing trips of other modes (e.g. Walking) and then also massively inducing extra trips that would not have been taken if the mode didn’t exist or was hard to use.

    Then why do they continually argue that “induced demand” is a fiction and not a real “thing”. Its right before their eyes.

    And also in turn why do they disagree that if you made it harder for people to drive, many of the car trips will disappear or move to other modes.

    Because its apparent people make complex, finely nuanced decisions to change their behaviours if given [even small] incentives to do so. What’s lacking is the incentives to do so, not the opportunity.

    We see that in the CBD right now with CRL works. Building new roads induces demand. Blocking off roads, does cause demand to evaporate or move to other modes. Drivers get the message – car trips take longer and cost more. So enough folks switch to other modes and the congestion mostly evaporates.

    It also goes to show that the same planners [from AT up into NZTA, MoT and even MPs] cannot reliably predict the “next big thing” – they were all hearing and saying Robo Taxis and Ubers were the “next big thing” for most of the last 5 years and we should do nothing now, but sort-of plan for those “one day” as our salvation.

    But these plans have been upstaged by the short term realities of the fact that Ubers and Robo Taxis don’t solve all the problems and also actually come with a raft of additional problems, usually overlooked/not at all considered/envisaged by those pushing them.
    Such as 50% [at best] occupancy rates for Ubers due to masses of empty running.

    e-scooters, clearly fill a transport niche/void that no few believed or thought that Uber et al wouldn’t/hadn’t “solved” already. Bit like evolution, Uber & Robo Taxis were to be this decades “mammals”, while Taxis & PT were the “dinosaurs”, now e-scooters are the “new” mammals, and Uber etc look like just a different form of Dinosaur.
    Eventually e-scooters will be supplanted by something else. Electric roller skates? who knows, but it will happen.
    Better allow for it now.

    So, I think that the main lessons from all this should be in no particular order:

    You can’t possibly continue to do nothing but what you used to do with your “predict and provide” using the immediate past and hope it will work like it used to in any meaningful way. It won’t.
    There will be more and more demand for the existing corridors from existing and new uses.

    Induced Demand is a real thing no matter what your professional “engineering” schooling told you.

    The best future-proofing we can do is to invest in reallocating existing corridor space properly, and prioritising active mode & PT – because whatever new thing comes along next will only get a look in here or elsewhere if it can fit in with the existing infra. – both physical & legal.

    e-scooters only got a look in here because NZTA allowed them to use the footpath and/or roads without helmets or safety gear & no driver licenses to use them. Other countries don’t have such an open door policy and Lime et al don’t get a look in there.

    Every new transport mode comes with a host of its own problems/unintended consequences. Expect to have them, for any new mode – and look to have sufficient rules in place allow you flexibly manage them. Even if the “flexible rules” are simply to let you change the current rules quickly if required by some new thing.

    1. “The best future-proofing we can do is to invest in reallocating existing corridor space properly, and prioritising active mode & PT”

      And this is urgent. We’re killing people because we’re not doing it fast enough. And we’re limiting the freedoms and stifling the development of our children.

      I don’t think the current budget nor business case model can cope with the urgency.

      1. The ‘integrated corridors project’ I keep hearing rustlings about is a huge opportunity. Would love to see more coverage on it from GA, if there is in fact anything to talk about yet.

    2. Where are the planners that say induced demand is not a thing. Oh wait maybe that is me, because it is more correctly called ‘demand’. Demand is a function not a number. It is the quantity demanded that you see as well as all the other quantities that would be demanded if supply were different. Calling part of the curve that currently isn’t the clearing quantity does have the benefit of letting people know demand is a range but it is still dumb and economically incorrect.
      You will see plenty of engineers and planners using a fixed demand when they are assessing projects, especially small projects as that is what the funding system requires them to do. You will also see plenty who run the generation model again to get new trips and the distribution again to get the changes that might occur in the long run. But more often what I see is half informed people complaining because someone told them a buzz word that they feel makes them sound smart. Have a nice day.

      1. Funny then that NZTA says they know of no projects where extra person-trips are allocated to the project scenario, isn’t it?

        I did find a motorway project the other day that ran the model a second time to add in extra person -trips. (Is NZTA asleep not to know about this; is it being done behind their back?)

        They added 1% extra (compared to the do-min) after 30 years. Bwa ha haaaaa… not sure if that’s a progressive engineer setting a teeny precedent he intends to expand incrementally with each project, or if it’s “demand-wash”. 🙂 “We doooo include induced demand”…

        1. The EEM specifically makes provision for it and lets you claim half the benefits of any new trips. We used to always use a fixed matrix simply because the high discount rate (10%) meant anything in the future was practically worthless in the assessment. But now with the lower discount rate there should be more projects using variable flows. Part of the traditional reluctance by the funders was they felt it biased funding towards larger projects and away from smaller scale local safety improvements. Remember the fact that traffic grows does not remove all benefits, those people are travelling because the benefit they receive outweighs the cost. I am surprised there are not more schemes using a variable matrix.

        2. @ Miffy: “people are travelling because the benefit they receive outweighs the cost”

          A major weakness in our predict-and-provide strategy is that it assumes all predicted vehicle journeys are of sufficient value to make them worth providing for. But since those journeys can be made at very little direct cost to the user, at least some of them are likely to be of low benefit and are only being made because they are perceived not to cost much.

          Until we start directly charging for the use of the roads that provide these alleged benefits, we are not going to know how many of the journeys made are of such low value that users would not make them if charged realistically.

      2. Case in point: I live in Wellington near the McKays to Pekapeka Expressway. Prior to that being opened, I never drove to Waikanae, ever, at all, if I could help it. Now that the road is open and easy to use, I drive to Waikanae to buy food, once or twice a week. No demand before – Road provided – now I demand to use it. Surely that is totally “induced demand” Miffy?

        1. Yes it is for those who use the term. I think the term sucks so I try to never use it. As I said above demand is a function, not a number. You already had the same reasons to travel but you didn’t because the supply wasn’t there. The quantity demanded of something is only one point on the demand curve. the curve has stayed the same so demand hasn’t changed. It only changes if tastes and preferences change, not because the supply has changed or the cost of travel has changed.

        2. ‘It only changes if tastes and preferences change, not because the supply has changed or the cost of travel has changed.’

          Nonsense on a stick; ‘tastes and preferences’ are led by opportunity. It doesn’t become preferred at volume until it’s easy or cheap or fun. You can prefer something that doesn’t exist, but you can’t action it. Preferences for difficult, unpleasant, and expensive trips can clearly be moved from fringe to mass by removing those barriers.

          Evidence of that is all over Auckland. Effectively ‘no one’ preferred to catch a train here until the service was improved inducing, yes inducing, people to prefer to use it. Or did their taste just happen to change coincidentally with the improvement? Really?

        3. Miffy’s absolutely right. The demand isn’t induced, the supply is just increased to allow it to be realized.

          It should be called induced driving.

        4. from now on therefore I shall term it an “Infrastructure induced behaviour change ham and cheese croissant”

  10. Charging docks need to be included along routes, as the current model involves people collecting scooters, charging at home, and then redistributing them once charged. The liability aspect of this is questionable, as a person doing the charging at their home is potentially nullifying their home insurance, since they are contributing to a business. If a battery were to catch fire during charging, or the home wiring overload and catch fire, would the insurance company pay out, or does Lime cover this in their business agreement with the person doing the charging? Does the person need additional business insurance to cover this, and would this make it less viable?

    1. So called gig economy ‘jobs’ often put the risk and in some cases the cost onto the contractor. True gig jobs where the person can achieve upward mobility by contracting and taking on work while growing their business would be great. Do they exist?

  11. Those ‘mode replacement’ survey questions bother me as an oversimplification of complex relationships between mobility modes, the induced demand and the freedom enabled by having extra options in the mix.

    eg: my Lime ride this morning was for one small leg of a journey. I walked with my partner from A to B, rode a Lime from B to C, then walked C to D. Without the possibility of riding a Lime for my B -> C travel, I likely would have completely changed my plans for the morning and taken a bus from A to D, foregoing the extra benefits of the journey along the way. For me that’s quite a typical use-case, and I don’t think it would fit correctly in any of the options for the survey question.

    I’m sure that some Lime rides are a simple 1:1 replacement for another mode, but I honestly doubt that’s the case for most trips, I would say it’s more transformative in how people plan (or don’t need to plan!) how they get around town.
    I would love to see better ways of understanding this than “How would you have made this trip if not on a Lime”.

    1. Yes, but I wonder, too, if we need to simplify the analysis to counting the modes that aren’t counted, and providing the networks that are missing. Once that’s in place, maybe we start asking questions again.

    2. This is a great point and is one of those benefit measurements that are really hard to capture.

      A real useful measurement for personal mobility devices would be what was the travel time saved utilised for? For instance, there maybe be hospitality/cafes along a route that would be missed if PT or car was used due to accessibility of said Cafe and ability to utilise the time saved for personal leisure time. This alone can be a (mental) health benefit.

      Yet, the likes of High Street business owners still live in a dream world where a few on street carparks are actually keeping them in business! Tragic

  12. I think we can start to do some tactical urbansim – paint some temporarily scooter lanes measure its success, and eventually move to permanent solution.

    This will be very useful in Queen st, Victoria St, Symonds St and hIgh St.

      1. I’ve been noticing some locally painted yellow dashed lines in Pt Chev. In logical places, too. I guess it’s what you do when AT doesn’t respond to requests for them in places where it’s urgent for safety. Do you think the AT Officers didn’t realise…?

        1. I asked for AT to paint lines, I sent them over 10 photographs showing cars parked over drives over a short period, and they said the photo evidence was not sufficient. They said I had to call in and have 3 cars towed before they could do anything. I guess the revenue from the tows pays for the lines, but it really messes with people’s days to get towed, so I was not prepared to go that far.

        2. ! It’s not proactive, it’s not even reactive. That shows complete disrespect both for the safety of vulnerable road users and for the goodwill of responsible citizens.

    1. I often thought that junction near me really really needs it’s inside lane for buses only. Often I see left turning buses stuck behind car in lane waiting to go straight ahead. One car can hold up several buses despite left green filter arrow.
      It would only need about 30 metres of bus lane. I wonder if AT traffic staff would enforce it if I and a couple of friends did the road markings and perhaps also put a false camera up the nearest light pole.

  13. I am fascinated by the scooters getting to Devonport and Takapuna. How did they cross the natural barrier of the harbour?
    I have seen them in West Auckland.
    Is there a graphic showing their wider dispersion?

    1. I think they just take the ferry and bring the scooter with them, so that they can use it to complete the last leg to home

  14. They need to be speed limited and riders should be forced to wear helmets. Also, all operators should have public liability insurance that covers renters.
    Used in the proper way, these can be great. If people ride irresponsibly, there will just be many more accidents for our hospitals to deal with.
    Also, taking away walking is not really great – It is strange that the same people arguing for cycle lanes on improved health and fitness are also campaigning for mobility scooters that do the opposite.

    1. All cars should have speed limiters and all car users forced to wear helmets. And drivers should be held responsible for all harm to more vulnerable victims.

      There. Fixed it for you.

      1. Many cars do have speed limiters (BMW/Merc/Nissan etc), but being encased in a steel box, they are not required to wear helmets. It’s the same reason you do not done a helmet when you are flying on Air NZ, or traveling in a train.
        NZ does require motorcyclists to wear them? Are you suggesting that is a bad policy?
        Drivers do pay a levy that helps pay for the accidents that are caused on the road https://www.acc.co.nz/about-us/how-levies-work/paying-levies-if-you-own-or-drive-a-vehicle/?plate=HGD771 as should all users (cyclists included)
        The EU, UK, US, Singapore all have limited the speed of PEV’s including ebikes and scooters. Does NZ (with its appalling road fatality record) think it knows better?

        Your point was?

      2. Wondering why this thread was censored? Dan made reasonable points in response to Patrick R’s comments. Doesn’t seem to fit with the websites own guidelines.

    2. ‘It is strange that the same people arguing for cycle lanes on improved health and fitness are also campaigning for mobility scooters that do the opposite.’

      It’s not that strange really, most intelligent people can see that there is a complex interaction of different activities and motivating factors, it’s not just a simplistic ‘people should walk more often’.

      People will chose their mode of transport, the key is providing options especially those that make good use of space and reduce impacts on others. Scooters in cycle lanes certainly do this.

    3. Dan, why should “riders be forced to wear helmets” ? What possible justification would you have for that?

      Sure, you may want to encourage riders to wear helmets, but surely that is their own health? and their own business? Their own head? Leave it up to them. Keep your nose out of their head.

      There are miles and miles more accidents caused by people falling over at home, burning themselves with irons, or dropping things on their toes. Should we also include a law demanding that all people at home should wear a helmet, wear heat-proof gloves, and wear steel cap boots? Its only fair! Think of the tax-payers money we would save!

      Wrap all children in bubble-wrap from the day they are born, so they get the idea. Or rather, don’t.

  15. Great post.
    Is there a pie graph or percentage breakdown for Auckland’s replacement usage? That one is specifically for Christchurch wasn’t it (or was it very similar apart from the car usage)?

    1. Right now of course that wouldn’t be legal, as bike lanes are illegal for scooters. Another change our slow-as transport authorities will probably take until 2022 to change.

    2. We already have a fund specifically for making better bike lanes. It’s called the RLTF. And the Future Funding Strategy lays out that this fund must be used to keep people cycling safe, as it is a cost motorists must bear.

      Trouble is, the Future Funding Strategy seems to have been treated like a pick and mix…

    3. Patrick they are charging the wrong user. Making scooter users pay to build new infrastructure because cars make it unsafe for them to use the road is as stupid as making pedestrians pay to build new infrastructure because scooters make it unsafe to use the footpath.
      The only reason we need new infrastructure is because cars make the road unsafe for all other users. They need to pay to fix that or have that space reallocated.

  16. You think scooters are dangerous: tonight I saw a man riding a suitcase down Wellesley Street West using his jandels as breaks. Was fairly shifting along on the coasters of that suitcase and pretty close to out of control.

        1. That’s so funny. The next must have. I guess we’ll be attempting to repair them at our next Repair Cafe.

  17. Yes, They knew, however they were following the simplest interpretation of the rules. They had an Incident Number and a Tow Truck. The AT Officer observed that the lines were NOT the standard length.

  18. Am I reading that ‘map’ correctly? That there is no/very low lime traffic along the Grafton Gully ‘cycleway’ but heaps along Symond St. Do bike riders operate the same way? Symonds St is the real desire line whereas the parallel Cycleway gets used only because it is safer.

    1. I use both in both directions depending on where I coming & going to.
      This is somewhat affected by the limited number of cycleway access points, and the differences in elevation.
      Cycling uphill past the bus stop areas and through the area at the top of Symonds St where the general traffic lane and bus lane cross is not great/safe. Cycling downhill with traffic is pretty good.
      There have been several occassions where I’ve ended up cycling from Stanley St up Grafton Rd to Park Road, then right onto Grafton Bridge, usually late at night after a meeting in Parnell. Stanley Street with trucks from the port travelling at speed is frightening and they have no thought to cutting you off and pushing you into the kerb.

  19. The difference with motor vehicles ( and privately owned bikes and scooters ) is that almost all are privately owned by the driver or the driver’s employer. The driver assumes at least some risk and/or expense in the vehicle maintenance/operation so it’s in the drivers best interest to modify their driving/parking/storage behaviour.

    That extends to point where if you owned an electric scooter, you wouldn’t leave it unsecured on the side of the road where it could stolen or vandalised.

    Maybe money spent on subsidising scooter ride service would be better spent on subsidising private ownership of electric scooters.

  20. How do we use things like scooters to increase the catchment areas of existing infrastructure?

    I.e how can we get someone to use one to get to their closest train or busway station (where previously it was too far to walk) and make it free if they have a monthly AT pass?

  21. While this article makes much of the Lime traffic connecting with Britomart, I think this will reduce largely once Aotea is open.
    After just returning from a couple of weeks touring 6 chinese cities travelling almost exclusively by high speed train, metro and bus, the observed change from 11+ years ago is huge.
    I hope the CRL will be the start of a similar transformation

    1. The pedestrians who use that bike pathway in ignorance may be different pedestrians to those who feel unsafe because of scooters on footpaths.

      One group of peds doing something they shouldn’t doesn’t mean others should feel unsafe.

      That cycleway would have to be the most ambiguous cycleway in Auckland, I don’t agree it is clearly marked. For example all three pedestrians in that street view image are allowed to be where they are.

      It should have been paved and marked like a mini-road like many other bi-directional cycleways and be lower from the curb, this would make it look much more like a cycleway. Also there should be giveway signs painted on the cycleway each time it crosses a ped access to traffic lights.

      1. It is very clearly marked – the boundary between shared and bike only is a checkered green area, then a final solid green area with a bike symbol. Not sure how much hand holding people really need – thats clearly bike only. Either we need to educate pedestrians much more as to why bikes/scooters need their own space, or we change those marked areas to be difficult for pedestrians to ignore.

        1. I agree it is marked and that you and I have figured out what everything means, but I don’t think it could be described as ‘very clearly marked’.

          How many people are aware of what the checkered green means? Not many cyclists based on my observations. How many pedestrians are looking at markings on the ground?

          I doubt it would have cost any more to have paved and painted it like an actual cycle lane. A fraction of the number of people walk in the Quay St cycle lane (which looks like a cycle lane) compared with Beach Road.

        2. The markings are chosen to be as intuitive as possible. I understand that a lot of people arent getting it, but that isnt a faulting of the markings, but of those peoples intelligence levels. Or they just dont care.

          I do agree that more markings are a good thing, however I do wonder if they will make any difference. These people more than likely wont change their ways.

        3. It would be a hell of a lot cheaper to paint more intuitive markings than try and educate the entire population up to your lofty intelligence levels.

        4. If youre implying that observing and understanding clear markings requires “lofty intelligence”, I think you should reconsider. All it requires is application of average intellect.

          It may indeed be cheaper in the short term to simply pander to the stupid, but long term it would be better, and perhaps more economical, to change peoples tendancy to ignore that which they dont understand, and instead apply critical thinking. This isnt limited to issues of pedestrian tresspassing, either – its a skill that is valuable across society.

        5. I heard specific feedback from someone visiting the area first time since it was built, that they didn’t realise they were on a cycleway until after one in their group pointed it out.

        6. It doesn’t help that in the middle it switches to a shared path for a while and then and back. One moment a pedestrian is walking along a shared path, the next moment it’s a cycleway. The point at which it switches is busy with lights and people queuing to cross. Easy miss the green paint if you are talking with others and not staring down at the pavement. No signage Just a short strip of green at the start.

          https://goo.gl/maps/keWQ9wfs8CQ9rjM7A

  22. Do you really think 22% of Lime/E-Scooters journeys replaced a car journey? And only 4% replaced public transport?

    If we saw any peer reviewed/independent research I would bet my hair that Lime/Bird primarily replaces: walking and public transport trips, with personal car trips being replaced a tiny minority.
    If the model primarily replaces walking/public transport, they are fundamentally against Auckland Council/Transport goals.

    And don’t get me started on Limes “carbon saved”….if you replace a trip that would normally be walked, by a scooter that is picked up by a juicer in a car you are adding carbon not saving it!!

  23. Went to Melbourne over Easter, imagine we had Trams / Light Rail along Tamaki Dr, Queen St, Dominion Rd, Britomart to Wynyard Qtr, etc. Would there be as many scooter rides on those roads?

    1. Lots of places in the world have Trams and a huge number of cyclists…scooters are really the same as a bike, a personal mobiliy device. So I don’t see why..the point of the LRT isn’t really to connect the City Centre but move people to and from it. Scooters are good for the last mile trips or the short cross town trips…different markets.

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