Lime has pedaled into the U.K. with its app-based bikesharing service. The company picked Milton Keynes as the site for its entry into the U.K. market, a town 45 miles north of London with a population of about 230,000.
Lime’s service charges riders 1 British pound ($1.27) to unlock the bike and 15 British pence (20 cents) a minute to use — almost a third more than it charges for its equivalent service in the U.S.
Riders use Lime’s smartphone app to unlock the bikes, with all charges made automatically to the rider’s account. The service is dockless, so you can drop off the bike anywhere — within reason — after you’ve completed your journey.
The brightly colored bikes — there are 50 of them at launch — are equipped with a 250-watt motor to help riders up hills or simply when their legs give out after excessive pedaling. On level pavement, the motor can push the two-wheeler to speeds of almost 15 mph.
In the U.S., Lime is better known for its electric scooters, but such machines are currently banned on British roads and sidewalks, prompting Lime to enter the U.K’s increasingly crowded bikesharing market instead. In Milton Keynes, it goes up against German firm Nextbike, which, unlike Lime’s service, uses docking stations.
While most bikesharing schemes in the U.K. appear to be operating smoothly, Mobike was recently forced to quit the city of Manchester because too many of its bikes were being vandalized and stolen. Lime will be hoping the folks of Milton Keynes will be more welcoming.
“We’re excited to provide residents and visitors to Milton Keynes with a healthy, accessible, and emission-free way to get around town,” said Jaanaki Momaya, general manager for Lime U.K. “This is a dynamic city at the forefront of transport innovation, and we’re thrilled to add electric bicycles to that list.” Momaya is absolutely right — the city has made a name for itself in the U.K. for opening the door to tech firms looking to test their technologies, including self-driving vehicles and delivery robots.
Lime launched at the start of 2017 but already offers electric two-wheelers — whether bikes or scooters — in 100 locations in 30 U.S. states, and 22 cities in 15 other countries.
The company, which also launched its service in Australia earlier this month, recently announced it has reached 20 million rides globally, just two months after clocking up 10 million.