Lime expected to roll out fleet of e


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Oct 05, 2023

Lime expected to roll out fleet of e

The City of Boise is hoping e-scooters can be used for more than just joyriding

The City of Boise is hoping e-scooters can be used for more than just joyriding starting this summer.

On Tuesday, Boise City Council members got a preview of what the city's new e-scooter and e-bike program will look like under its new contract with Lime. The company is expected to finalize its plans for a new micro-mobility network and be ready to launch in mid-July with a new system built to place e-scooters and e-bikes across the city, not just keeping them concentrated in downtown or near Boise State University.

This tactic represents a shift in Boise's policy on e-scooters since they were first introduced five years ago. At that time, the city opted to license three different companies to operate in Boise with fines and fees for devices blocking sidewalks and caps on the number of vehicles that could be on the city streets, but it largely left the marketplace unregulated.

Last fall, the city announced its plans to transition to a single-operator system so they could design a system where devices were placed city-wide in a way that made them more sustainable for transportation alternatives, not just for fun in and around downtown. Entering into a contract with a single company also makes it easier for the city to control e-scooter operations in city limits to ensure they don't block sidewalks, are parked in specific areas or have other safety rules.

Lime was selected as the company the City of Boise opted to contract after Bird appealed the selection all the way to Boise City Council earlier this year.

This is a year-long pilot program and its effectiveness will continue to be evaluated.

Potential Lime customers will be able to use a number of different kinds of devices to get around town.

The fleet will include 800 e-scooters, which is comparable to the total number of vehicles across three companies that have been operating, and a minimum of 150 e-bikes. The company is also testing the possibility of seated e-scooters, which are still two-wheeled devices but instead of requiring the user to stand up while riding they are retrofitted with a seat.

There will also be an adaptive fleet of devices for accessible electric scooter use, which would be delivered to someone who would like to use them on demand. These devices are similar to motorized wheelchairs.

This new system would also place the devices across the city, with a certain percentage at high traffic areas like shopping centers, along transit corridors and in "designated equity zones." Details on where these equity zones will be and what criteria will be used to set them were not available Tuesday night, but given previous comments by city officials it likely refers to neighborhoods with a higher percentage of low-income residents who may not have consistent access to a car.

Lime will be required to rebalance the devices daily across the city so the devices continue to stay available across all of these designated areas throughout the day.

E-scooters blocking the sidewalk or wheelchair ramps are a constant source of frustration for Boiseans, whether they are in the disability community or not.

This new system will be addressing these problems with erratic parking from scooter customers. In downtown Boise and at BSU, the city is considering mandatory parking locations where users will only be able to stop there device if they put the device in a certain, marked area. And in neighborhoods, there will be preferred parking zones where users can get up to a dollar off if they end their ride there.

There will also be quicker response times to complaints and escalating penalties for violations.

Pricing on Lime devices will also be different. The standard price will be $1 to unlock and .36 per minute afterward. Users will be able to buy day, multi-day or monthly passes like for public transportation. There will also be financial discounts depending on who is riding.

Low-income residents will get a 70% discount, if you ride in an equity zone you get 50% off and there is a 10% discount for rides near a transit stop. Riders can also get a $1 discount if they park in a preferred parking area.

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