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.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.