Lime launches state’s first electric bike fleet
A new bike-sharing company has been cleared to operate downtown, the first to be ushered in under Orlando’s new “dockless” ordinance.
Lime’s permit was officially approved by city officials on Monday and by Tuesday the vibrant green bikes, which aren’t required to be parked at a rack, were spread throughout downtown. In some places, they were alongside orange bikes from Juice Bike Share, which has operated in Orlando since 2015.
The Lime fleet — approved for up to 500 bikes — is said to be the state’s first all e-bike fleet, meaning as riders pedal a lithium battery helps power them forward.
The company is optimistic that its fleet will be successful in Orlando due to both the region welcoming more than 65 million tourists in the first half of 2018 and a growing number of young professionals moving downtown.
“Orlando is poised to be a great bike-sharing town,” said Jed Fluxman, Lime Florida’s general manager. “When you look at the town itself…we want to be able to serve the locals, but I think we’re all aware that it’s a transient town with all of the tourism there.”
Orlando has had bike sharing since Juice Bike Share brought its orange bicycles to town. By September, Juice riders had completed 107,000 rides totalling 184,000 miles.
When the City Council was weighing its ordinance — which laid out regulations outlining where dockless bikes could be parked and required a permit to operate — a Juice Bike Share official said opening up the market would harm the business, and passing the ordinance would “put our Floridabased company out.”
Kerry Bailey, a regional manager for Cycle Hop, which is Juice’s parent company, said the company would monitor the dockless model over the next few months as it looks to build in Orlando.
“Several ideas are on the table including shared electric bikes with public charging stations as well as upgrading and expanding the current fleet to a dockless hybrid system,” Bailey said in an email.
The Lime e-bikes have a lithium battery that helps power the bicycles up to 14.8 mph and also have baskets, a smartphone mount and a lock attached.
A crew based downtown will be in charge of making sure bikes are properly spaced, have fully charged batteries and aren’t in violation of the city ordinance, Fluxman said.
“It can get over 95 degrees on any given day,” Fluxman said of the ebikes. “We want to make sure we’re proving bikes where they need to be.”
The appeal of Lime for Orlando was both convenience and cost.
On Tuesday, groups of the bright green bicycles were seen near City Hall, the Lynx bus station, Lake Eola Park, Constitution Green, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and the Amway Center. To unlock a bicycle, users must download the Lime application and scan a QR code in the app. It costs $1 to unlock the bike, and riders are then charged 15 cents per minute of riding.
With Juice bikes, local customers pay a membership between $15 and $20 per month — or $59 per year — for either 60 minutes or 90 minutes of free biking per day.
Visitors are per hour.
Cassandra Lafser, a spokeswoman for Mayor Buddy Dyer, said no other companies have applied for a permit yet. charged $8
A group of Lime bikes at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The fleet is approved for up to 500 bikes.