Less than a week after its biggest bike-share competitor, ofo, announced that it's abandoning the Dallas market, Lime, the company behind all the green bikes and scooters in Dallas, says its business in the city is thriving. Over the seven months since the company last released ridership statistics in the city, the bike and scooter rental company has more riders riding more miles, Lime said Monday.
Although the company has just 3,000 bikes in Dallas after peaking at around 10,000 this winter, more than 220,000 users have taken a spin on a Lime bike or pushed off on a Lime scooter since the company made its August 2017 debut in the city, according to Lime.
About 80 percent of those users have taken their first ride in 2018, traveling more than 425,000 miles, a figure Lime is careful to point out equals 21 laps around the earth. They are traveling those miles at a greater cost, too.
The scooters are quicker and seemingly more fun to use than the company's formerly eponymous bikes, but they are also significantly more expensive, costing $1 to start plus 15 cents per minute to ride, compared with $1 per 30 minutes for the bikes.
The changes in Lime's fleet coincide with the introduction of Dallas' new bike-share rules in June, which require companies in the city to pay $21 per vehicle they leave in Dallas' right-of-way. The fees, which ofo says are the highest in the country, chased the China-based yellow bike purveyor out of the city. Without a scooter fleet, ofo simply couldn't get the same bang for its buck that Lime can realize.
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Lime, as both the situation on the ground in Dallas and the company make clear, is taking a different route. The company's app shows its bikes slowly losing turf to Lime-S scooters every day, especially in dense areas like downtown Dallas and Deep Ellum. Earlier this month, the company announced picking up $335 million in its latest round of fundraising, including a significant investment from Uber, which plans to partner with Lime in "the electric scooter space."
As Lime seeks continued growth in the city over its next year of operation, it's going to need a couple of things to happen: First, the Dallas City Council needs to sign off on permanent regulations for the scooters. The two-wheelers are only legal now thanks to six-month pilot program and could come under fire again if council members like Dwaine Caraway, who's continually pushed for bike-share companies to build docks for their vehicles, feel that the scooters are cluttering up the city. Second, riders will need to feel confident riding the scooters in a wider range of locations.
"Our challenge, always, is to provide people with the option to get where the need to go in the most efficient and enjoyable manner," Sam Sadle, Lime's director of government relations, told the Observer this month. "As we think about Dallas, the road network is a remnant of a past age of car dominance. That's why what we're doing as we move forward with the city is we're sharing with them data on where our bikes and scooters are being ridden and how they're being ridden, so the city can look at the data and plan accordingly to improve bike, pedestrian and scooter safety."