The micromobility company Lime has launched an electric moped service in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, adding another two-wheeled transportation option to city streets.
Lime rolled out a fleet of 100 battery-powered, lime-green vehicles on Friday, which the company says it plans to grow to 500 in the coming weeks. The launch comes less than a month after news that Lime and other companies will also offer an e-scooter pilot program in the Bronx this summer.
The company already operates scooters in several cities, and launched moped service in Washington DC and Paris earlier this year.
“We are so excited to bring this vision of a multi-modal transportation alternative to New York City,” Lime CEO Wayne Ting told reporters at a press event at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Friday.
Ting emphasized enhanced safety features and a lower start-up cost as advantages over competitor Revel, which offers a similar moped-share service in Brooklyn and elsewhere.
Though both Lime and Revel make use of electric mopeds built by the Chinese company NIU, there are differences between the services, Ting said. Lime’s rides cost 39 cents per minute on top of a $1 base fee, compared to Revel’s 49 cents per minute.
Safety features include a 10-minute, in-app instructional course with videos and multiple-choice quizzes that riders must complete before using the service for the first time, which Lime created in collaboration with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
Infrared sensors confirm riders are making use of the two helmets included on every vehicle. If they aren’t, Lime will send riders a warning message through the app and even slow down their ride, which otherwise tops out at 28 mph.
Drivers must be 21 or older, and their passengers must be at least 18. Upon signing up for the service, the Lime app scans your driver’s license, and uses facial recognition to confirm the user matches the permit.
“Safety is the first, the second, the last thing we think about,” Ting said.
Revel temporarily shut down its New York service last July, after three riders fatally crashed while using their mopeds. The service returned a month later with new safety requirements, including mandatory helmet usage, a 21-question safety test and suspension for riding the wrong direction down a one-way street.
Revel, which launched in Brooklyn in 2018, now operates about 3,000 mopeds across four boroughs. The company has also expanded its offerings to include e-bike rentals and a fleet of electric Tesla cabs in Manhattan.
Council Member Robert Cornegy, who attended the press event Friday and who has previously supported micromobility initiatives, called the Lime launch a step toward a more equitable transportation system.
“Having transportation alternatives helps change the narrative that communities of color are not invested in reducing our carbon footprint, in being responsible and having an opportunity to access this new wave of technology,” Cornegy said.
The Lime app indicates that coverage area for the moped service currently includes the northern, central and brownstone neighborhoods of Brooklyn—most of which are already served by Revel—but leaves out the borough’s eastern and southern portions. A spokesperson for the company said it plans to expand into other areas in the near future.
[5/3/21 – This article has been updated to correct Revel’s moped pricing, which no longer requires a one-time $19 fee, and to remove a phrase that incorrectly stated the Council district in which the Navy Yard is located.]