London’s first dockless bike share scheme offering electric-assist bikes started operations yesterday as US-based Lime began deploying 1,000 of its bright green bikes in the boroughs of Ealing and Brent.
The move comes just a week after the San Mateo, California-based company entered the UK market by setting up a similar scheme in Milton Keynes.
The bikes, branded Lime-E – as they are in other countries, meaning any similarity to the US slang term ‘Limey’ is presumably coincidental – have a rechargeable lithium battery and a maximum speed of 14.8mph.
The bikes can be unlocked for £1 via a smartphone app – available via the Lime UK website – then cost 15p for each minute they are used.
A 10-minute journey, therefore, including the unlocking fee, would cost £1 more than a single bus fare – irrespective of length of trip – which stands at £1.50.
Jaanaki Momaya, general manager of Lime UK, commented: “We’re excited to usher in a new era of smart urban mobility in London.
“Our local operations team is working hand-in-hand with city officials to ensure that Lime fits seamlessly into London’s robust transportation network.”
Founded only in January last year, Lime is now present in around 100 cities in the US and 15 countries worldwide, including Australia, France, Germany and Spain.
Besides standard bicycles and e-bikes, it also provides electric scooter hire in a number of countries but won’t be doing so in the UK due to current Department for Transport rules.
The launch of its e-bike rental service comes five years after former Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced plans to trial an electric version of the city’s cycle hire scheme to serve hillier parts of north London including Muswell Hill and Crouch End from a central hub at Finsbury Park, although the scheme never materialised.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.