Lime, a bike-share company that introduced electronic scooter rentals in Meridian last Thursday, says it has pulled all of its scooters from the city for the time being.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Aaron Kindall, Lime’s operations amanger for the Treasure Valley, said the company has taken “missteps” in its deployment of the program.
Meridian Police Chief Jeff Lavey said his office has received numerous complaints in recent days about scooters being left in incorrect areas and said there is a lack of education as far as riding them.
“We have been chasing Lime complaints,” Lavey said. “Everything that was promised to us has not happened yet … we need to do something ... we need to stop and educate Lime about what they can and can’t do.”
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Kindall said Lime will re-evaluate its deployment and strategy, including implementation of designated hubs for pickup and drop-off. Kindall mentioned Friday as a potentially “softer deployment” day but admits that he is “not sure if that’s wise at this point.”
“From this moment forward, we want to take a different approach and do this the right way,” Kindall said.
Below is our previous reporting
The city of Meridian has asked that the renting of electronic scooters in the city be temporarily halted until certain stipulations are met.
The issue will be brought up at tonight’s City Council meeting, according to city attorney Bill Nary.
“Two things need to happen: They need to have public education on how to use (them) and where. And second, they need to have private parking so they aren’t (on streets) ... (We) thought would be taken care of (before launch),” Nary told the Statesman.
Lime, a bike-share company based out of San Mateo, California, began renting out electric scooters in Meridian last Thursday, the first such program in Idaho.
There were 200 scooters initially available.
Trouble began rolling in quickly, however, as Meridian received at least four complaints the day after the launch, many dealing with the blockage of sidewalks and wheelchair ramps.
Megan Colford, the community affairs manager for Lime, said that feedback has been generally positive thus far and that the first few weeks of ride sharing in a new area can have some kinks. After the initial learning curve, riders are very compliant, she said.
“I think that there is always, in all of the 100-plus markets, there is always a learning curve,” Colford said. “There’s an adjustment ... (But) scooters are always picked up daily and redeployed.”
Dockless, or stationless, bike-sharing services started popping up about a year-and-a-half ago in cities like San Francisco and San Diego. They were popular in Europe before that. Scooters have gained popularity lately in some cities as alternatives that don’t leave riders sweating as they arrive at work. Customers download apps for Lime (formerly known as LimeBike), Ofo, Razor and Spin to their smartphones.
The app shows the location of available bikes or scooters. A customer scans a QR code on the bike to unlock it. When customers are done using the bikes, they leave them on the sidewalk or at a bike rack and lock them again.
“The biggest issues have been consistently parking them on the sidewalk and obstructing,” Nary said.
Lime will be holding an educational forum on Saturday at Centennial Park, Colford said.