Lime can boast two million rides on their scooters and the company wants to show the City of Portland they’re ready for a long-term relationship.
As we reported last week, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is looking for one or two scooter operators to take over the existing pilot program and provide a larger fleet and other upgrades in exchange for less competition and a more stable contract. One of the major changes PBOT has asked prospective vendors to make is a locking mechanism that would allow scooters to be attached to designated parking stalls.
Lime says their new Gen4 scooters are up to the task. The company announced today they’ve begun to swap out their existing fleet with upgraded scooters that include a cable lock to encourage riders to lock them to bike racks and other designated parking spots. “This will decrease street clutter and promote safety, improving the micromobility experience for everyone in the city including non-riders and other pedestrians,” a Lime statement said.
With more scooters parked in racks, PBOT will need to work extra hard to make sure there are ample spaces available for bicycle users.
The upgraded Lime scooters will also include swappable, interchangeable batteries. That means maintenance crews can re-charge scooters more efficiently in the field without having to round them up. This will reduce the vehicle miles traveled of Lime maintenance vehicles and lead to fewer carbon emissions.
Other new features of Lime’s Gen4 model are swept-back handlebars (“reminiscent of bike handles” the company says), an improved kickstand, better brakes, beefier suspension and larger wheels, and a lower deck.
Lime has operated scooters in Portland since the first pilot program began in 2018 and will soon announce riders have taken over two million rides. The company has over 1,100 scooters on the ground in Portland, more than any other vendor. They expect a full fleet swap to be completed in the next few weeks.
PBOT says all current scooter vendors can operate through fall 2022 until a new vendor (or vendors) are chosen.