In the weeks since Lime launched 375 electric bikes onto city streets, Calgarians have had the opportunity to test out the bike-sharing service, which is the first of its kind in the city.
Part of a two-year pilot project The City of Calgary is conducting to test the viability of dockless bike-sharing in the city, Lime is a San Francisco-based company offering electric pedal-assist bikes.
Given their dockless nature, Lime bikes can be found just about anywhere within a permitted zone, which, for now, is concentrated in downtown Calgary. When users find a Lime bike they want to use, they simply use the Lime mobile app to scan a QR code that unlocks the bike at a charge of US$1 and are then charged 30 cents per minute for their ride.
Following their first week of operation, Lime Calgary’s operations manager Scott Harvey said the company had been getting “a lot of really good feedback.”
The ride wasn’t all smooth, though, as users began to take notice of some of the hurdles involved in using the bikes.
Local blogger Mike Morrison was one of the first cyclists to use Lime on the day that it launched in Calgary, and wrote a blog post highlighting some issues facing potential Lime bike riders, including the need for riders to supply their own helmet if they want to take a ride.
To find out more about why riders are required to wear a helmet, and what Lime says they’re doing to address this hurdle, check out the audio piece below:
In addition to the hurdle created by the provincial helmet law, Morrison also noted that Lime’s app lacks a reservation feature, similar to what you might see in a comparable app like Car2Go.
Car2Go allows you to reserve a vehicle, which holds it for up to 30 minutes. This allows customers who might be a few minutes away from a car to ensure that the car they’re looking at won’t be taken by another customer before they can reach it.
“Lime bike is not like that,” Morrison said. “Right now it’s okay because… the uptake is slow… but, say, next spring when... business really picks up for them and the other [bike-sharing services], it’s going to be really annoying if you’re walking somewhere and… you get there and someone’s taken [the bike].”
When asked about the lack of a reservation feature, Harvey hinted that Lime has heard similar feedback before, and that it’s likely customers could have the ability to reserve in the future.
“Of course that’s a technology-based problem. So… we’re looking to launch a new version of the bikes that will have better technology,” Harvey said. “And certainly that reservation [feature] is big on the priority list. We want to be able to provide customers with as many options, in terms of renting a bike, as possible.”
As it deals with growing pains, fans of Lime can still expect to see the service grow come April, when Harvey said their operation permit will allow them to increase their fleet size and expand their service outside of the downtown core.
- By Kyra Bird