What’s Up With People on Scooters?

Groups of GDS students leaving and returning to campus during lunch is a common sight. Since the end of last year, however, some students haven’t been walking to get lunch, but rather, they’ve been zipping around Tenleytown on Lime Scooters. The scooters are provided by the company Lime, formerly LimeBike, which started in 2017 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Since then, they have expanded all around the globe, with services in New York City, Los Angeles, and even Paris, France.

According to Lime’s website, they were founded with the idea that “mobility can be smart, equitable and fun” and emphasize the importance of leaving a “future generations with a cleaner, healthier planet.” They have multiple programs working towards these goals, including one called LimeAcess, which provides low-income people with subsidized rides on Lime bikes or scooters, aiming to fulfill their ideal of “mobility for all.”

Near us, Lime vehicles can be found on the streets of DC, Bethesda and Silver Spring. To rent one, you have to download the app, which will show you the location of bikes and scooters near you. After walking to the location of the vehicle, you can unlock and start riding.

Tess Thornton, a junior, says that using the scooters was quite fun and very useful. She cites the the difficulty of using the app, however, saying that she only used the scooter when it was nearby because “if [she] went looking for one, [she] wouldn’t be able to find it.”

The bikes cost one dollar for every 30 minutes, while the scooters are one dollar to unlock and 15 cents a minute.

When asked if she had the impression that Lime Scooters were expensive, sophomore Phoebe Pressler was unsure, but stated that “it depends on how far you’re going” and that “they’re less expensive than an Uber,” making it a valuable option for shorter distance rides.  

Not only are Lime scooters less expensive than other modes of transportation, they are also considerably more eco-friendly as they run on electric motors. Thornton wishes “that they were more accessible and available in larger quantities,” adding that “less gas pollution” is good for the city.

Lime Scooters, however, have no central docking ports like Capital Bikeshare and other companies; rather, the rider simply leaves the scooter on the street or the sidewalk for the next person. As scooters scatter the sidewalks, this raises concerns about cluttering the streets, as well as safety of cars and pedestrians.

Will Lime continue to be used at GDS and in the DMV? Senior Lucia Driessen is skeptical, stating that “the novelty of the scooter is the reason that it is popular,” and when the excitement of “bright colored [scooters]” wears off, Lime Scooters will no longer be utilized.

BY Maddie Brown