Micromobility company Lime has launched two new programmes to support British riders: free rides for key workers, and 50% discounts for low-income groups. The initiatives, together called Lime Aid, will be backed by a £1m investment pot.
In the UK, Lime rents out electric bicycles under bike-share schemes in Milton Keynes and London, and shared e-scooters under trial programmes in Milton Keynes and Salford. The subsidies will apply to both transport forms in all locations.
Key workers, such as NHS staff and emergency services employees, will be granted as many 30-minute rides as they like, free of charge. This could prove invaluable to keeping this important group safe by allowing them to commute to and from their places of work without needing to use a car (good for the environment) or public transport (to help maintain social distancing).
While most micromobility providers do already offer discounted rides to those from low-income groups, reducing fees by 50% or more is another significant step by Lime towards rebalancing access to public transport across all communities.
There’s more, too. Under the twin programme, three months’ membership of the London Cycling Campaign is also available.
Micromobility can be a powerful force for good in hard-hit British communities struggling with the effects of lockdown, but only if it’s not too expensive. Being cheaper than cars or ride-hailing is one thing; to really be useful to all communities, rates need to be comparable to public transport. So we welcome this move by Lime.
As TfL’s e-scooter tender creeps towards publication, expect lots more announcements from micromobility operators about London-focused schemes with large investment figures. This could perhaps be seen as shameless jockeying to curry favour among the capital’s decision-makers (and these types of key-worker offers have already been seen throughout the industry this summer).
But if the jostling brings tangible benefits to ordinary people who are really in need (whether economically or in access), then bring it on. RR