Micromobility giant Lime has submitted a proposal to operate an electric scooter and bike share service in Surrey, and says it is preparing a pitch for Vancouver in anticipation of the city opening a request for proposals.
“Our mission is to bring more people out of cars, into green transportation alternatives,” Lime CEO Wayne Ting told Global News.
“Across Canada, there are 26 million registered cars. One of the great things about shared micromobility is we can serve as big of a population with a fraction of the number of cars out there, because we are sharing each e-bike, each e-scooter among multiple riders.”
Lime already offers public e-bike and e-scooter sharing programs in North Vancouver, Coquitlam, Richmond and Kelowna.
Globally, it is active in more than 280 cities, and is the largest service of its kind.
The rollout of the service has been bumpy in some communities, drawing complaints about devices being improperly parked or abandoned.
Ting said Lime has invested significantly in deterring bad behaviour, including developing virtual parking spots — and taking action against users who ignore them.
“We ask every single rider to take a picture of every single trip, and we review the picture through both AI and humans,” he said.
“If you are not parked correctly, we fine you, we send you a warning, and if you are a repeat offender we kick you off the platform.”
Ting added that thieves generally ignore the devices because they can be remotely locked and are built from proprietary parts that have no resale value.
Ting argued the shared devices are also safer than privately owned versions, because the company can activate built-in speed-limiting technology.
The B.C. government launched a pilot project in 2021 governing the use of e-scooters, with eight municipalities including Vancouver signing on.
Regulations under Vancouver’s bylaw include a 24 km/h speed limit, a prohibition on riding on sidewalks, and the requirement that riders stick to side streets and separated bike lanes.
New Westminster city council recently passed a motion of its own to explore speed limits.
Surrey’s RFP closed in September. It is not yet clear when Vancouver will launch an RFP for a program of its own.