Sunday, December 3, 2023

Lime, anyone? Well, this is a different kind of lime

Lime scooters (Southside Daily file/Courtesy of Pixabay)
Lime scooters (Southside Daily file/Courtesy of Pixabay)

NORFOLK — Commuting around this city just got easier.

City Council approved the ordinance for a shared scooter pilot program with Lime during Tuesday night’s City Council Meeting.

The move makes Norfolk the first city in Hampton Roads “to embrace the electric scooter company,” city officials said.

The pilot will assess the viability of this new mobility option for Norfolk residents and visitors. The initiative will last for one year, beginning June 24.

“We are excited to bring Lime to Norfolk. The City is committed to improving transportation access and providing first-and last-mile solutions to support public transit,” said Director of Transit Amy Inman. “This pilot program advances our commitment to ensure residents and visitors have convenient, reliable commuting options to safely reach their destination.”

The citywide program will launch in Norfolk with 150 e-scooters available on the market beginning June 24, with a goal of ramping to 500 e-scooters by Fourth of July weekend, officials said.

As a dockless system, riders can start, hold and end rides by parking the e-scooter in the public right of way, clear of building entrances and ramps. Lime ensures shared scooters are properly parked through preferred parking zones and photo verification.

Residents, students and visitors can make point-to-point trips in and around the city with just a tap on their smartphones. Lime also offers services for non-smartphone users and cash-based options through their Lime Access Program, according to the city.

E-scooter riders have the same rights of the road as bikes and cars and are expected to follow traffic laws accordingly. Additionally, e-scooter riders are encouraged to wear helmets while riding, authorities said.

To ride Lime, download the free Lime scooter app, available in the App Store or Google Play. Riders find available e-scooters and parking locations in the app. Lime rides cost $1 to unlock.

Another e-scooter company, Bird, had a run-in with the city in August of last year — an entanglement that ended in February when Bird representatives picked up their scooters impounded by the city.

The price tag: $22,000.

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