Unique ride sharing app Lime, formerly known as LimeBike, has been around for just a little over a year now, and in that time, the service has managed to garner some 6 million rides. It's also managed to hit more than 50 major metropolitan areas worldwide, fill out massive fleets of personal transit vehicles in bigger markets like San Diego, and build up a repertoire of different vehicles including pedal bikes, electronically assisted bikes, electric stand-up scooters and Segway scooters. In building this large and diverse fleet, the company also managed to amass the largest fleet of electronically assisted pedal bikes of any United States-based company ever.
Lime started out small in Greensboro, North Carolina, and its rather unique idea caught on quickly. The service hasn't been without its hiccups, as the many one-star reviews in the Play Store can tell you, but breaking into 50 markets and achieving six million uses in just one year is nothing to sneeze at, even given Lime's premise and the low barrier to entry for users. These six million rides averaged out to about a mile per ride. When the app's total impact thus far is compared to travelling the same distance via a traditional gasoline-operated vehicle, the numbers indicate that the service has thus far offset the production of over 5 million pounds of carbon dioxide. While the real amount is likely substantially less, such a figure is certainly impressive, and even indicative of a potential mass shift in short-range transit. 27% of surveyed riders use Lime to get to or from public transit drop points, while 20% head to a local business with the app, 39% use it to travel to and from obligations and appointments, and around 51% of surveyed riders in major metropolitan markets reported annual household income under the $75,000 mark, meaning that Lime is providing an important service for the inner city in the form of a cheaper and more convenient alternative to bus systems, underground metros and the like.
The way that Lime works is incredibly simple and user-friendly, but opens the service up to a number of problems imposed by unruly users. Lime bikes do not use any kind of stationary dock, so they tend to end up in strange places, and can easily be hidden away so that crafty users always have access to them and nobody else can find them. You'll have to feed the app your credit card details and a form of identification in case liability issues arise, then the app will tell you where the nearest vehicle is. You walk to it, unlock it with the app by scanning a QR code on the vehicle, then ride to your destination at a fixed $1 fee per ride and a differing amount per minute depending on what type of vehicle you're using. Once you're there, you take the vehicle to a location where it won't be in anybody's way, then lock it back up. As a caveat, groups will need an individual Lime account and payment method for each person.