Lime launches state’s first elec­tric bike fleet

Orlando Sentinel (Sunday) - - LOCAL & STATE - By Ryan Gille­spie Or­lando Sen­tinel Have a news tip? You can call Ryan at 407-420-5002, email him at ry­gille­[email protected] or­lan­dosen­tinel.com, fol­low him on Twit­ter @byryangille­spie and like his cov­er­age on Face­book @byryangille­spie.

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

RYAN GILLE­SPIE/OR­LANDO SEN­TINEL

A group of Lime bikes at the Dr. Phillips Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts. The fleet is ap­proved for up to 500 bikes.

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