Lime (transportation company)

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Neutron Holdings, Inc.
Industry Bicycle-sharing
FoundedJanuary  2017 (2017-01)
FoundersToby Sun
Brad Bao
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California

Neutron Holdings, Inc. doing business under the name Lime, formerly LimeBike, is a transportation-rental company based in the United States. It runs bicycle-, scooter-, and car-sharing systems in various cities around the world. The systems offer dockless vehicles which users find and unlock via a mobile app which knows the location of available units via GPS and radio. Lime's charges typically start at $1 or €1 for a 30-minute ride on unpowered bicycles, while electric bicycles and scooters cost $1 to unlock plus a variable rate per minute depending on location.


LimeBike was founded in January 2017 and raised US$12 million in venture funding led by Andreessen Horowitz in March 2017.[1] The company's first location, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, launched in June 2017 with 125 bicycles.[2]

LimeBike expanded in July 2017 to the cities of Key Biscayne, Florida, South Bend, Indiana, and South Lake Tahoe, California.[3][4][5] On July 27, 2017, LimeBike launched with 500 bicycles in Seattle, Washington, becoming the city's second bikeshare operator.[6]

The company closed a Series B round of venture funding in October 2017, announcing that it was valued at $225 million.[7] A $335 million funding round in 2018 led to a valuation of $1.1 billion for the company, making it a unicorn.[8]

In November 2017, LimeBike announced NFL running back Marshawn Lynch as one of its brand promoters, partnering with his company Beast Mode Apparel.[9]

In May 2018, the company announced that it would rebrand as "Lime" and partner with Segway to produce new scooters.[10]

In August 2018, the company signed a deal with Uber to provide them electric bikes for the expansion of their Uber Bikes service.[11]

In May 2019, co-founder and chief executive officer Toby Sun stepped down reportedly to focus on R&D while Brad Bao, a Lime co-founder, took his place as CEO.[12]

Vehicles and deployment[edit]

Lime-S electric scooter in Little Italy, San Diego, California, USA (Sept 2018)
A van used to collect and move scooters at night, in Emeryville, California.

Lime uses green-colored commuter bikes equipped with GPS units and 3G connectivity.[1][13] The bicycles also have a front basket, a solar panel, and a smart lock. A mobile app is used to locate nearby bicycles and scan a QR code to unlock bicycles, which play a short chime.[1][14] Rides cost $1 for every 30 minutes of use.[1]

As of October 2017, Lime had 150,000 users.[15]

In January 2018 Lime announced at CES 2018 that they would begin a trial of electric bikes, branded Lime-E, in San Francisco.[16] The following month Lime-S electric scooters were announced.[17]

In May 2018, the company announced plans to begin development of transit pods, small self-driving electric vehicles.[18] Lime applied for car-sharing permits in Seattle in October 2018 and later launched a service in December 2018 with a fleet of Fiat 500 Lounge cars branded as "LimePod."[19][20]

In October 2018 Lime announced the release of a new model e-scooter with larger wheels, built-in suspension and an aluminum frame to combat vandalism and extend vehicle life.[21]


Lime scooters are charged by gig workers, private contractors who sign up to become "Juicers"; the company sends approved Juicers charging equipment, and pays them to charge scooters overnight then place them at designated "groves" throughout the company's service area in the morning. Juicing can become competitive, with Juicers in some markets using vans and other creative means to pick up scooters all over the city.[22]

The amount of money that Lime gives the independent contractors for charging a particular scooter depends on how long the scooter has been sitting out on the street after being flagged for needing a charge and before the Juicer reflags the scooter in an app to claim the reward.


Conflicts with local authorities[edit]

Lime has been criticized for its approach towards municipalities, including ignoring local laws. In February 2019, a Fort Lauderdale Lime user was placed in a vegetative state after a violent collision with a car while riding a Lime scooter on the road, not the legally permitted sidewalk use. The injured woman was allegedly instructed to use the road by Lime's app.[23] In September 2018, Lime sued San Francisco for denying Lime a permit. Lime had been operating in San Francisco without permission and received a cease-and-desist. [24][25] Lime has received cease-and-desist letters from numerous cities, including Reno,[26] San Francisco[27], Indianapolis[28], and others.

Allegations of mudslinging PR[edit]

In November 2018, TechCrunch reported that Lime had engaged Definers Public Affairs, a public relations firm known for spreading "anti-semitic conspiracy theories" about George Soros[29], to send "mudslinging pitches" for Lime about its competitors. [30]

Vehicle malfunctions[edit]

Some of Lime's electric scooters have been recalled due to mechanical failures. In October 2018, Lime recalled a number of its Segway Ninebot scooters after several cases of batteries "smoldering, or in some cases, catching fire".[31]

In November 2018, Lime issued a recall of its Okai-model scooters on reports that the baseboards could "break in half".[32] The recall was issued following internal comments by employees that its scooters were unsafe for public use.[33]

In January 2019, Lime withdrew its scooters from two Swiss locations (Basel and Zürich) following accidents allegedly caused by brakes automatically activating when the scooters were still in motion.[34]

In February 2019, Lime issued a safety update, announcing that some of its scooters could malfunction and their wheels could "lock up" at high speeds. The company was forced to temporarily withdraw its scooters from circulation in Auckland and Dunedin, New Zealand, after injuries caused by irregular braking incidents.[35][36]


Lime-E electric bicycle in Berlin

Locations where Lime operates are listed on its Web site, which is updated as appropriate:[37]

United States[edit]

Lime also operates on the following US college campuses:[37]

Outside United States[edit]








Czech Republic[edit]









New Zealand[edit]

Lime launched in Auckland and Christchurch in October 2018.[73]







United Kingdom[edit]

Scooters with motors, and similar vehicles may not be used either on public roads or footpaths in Britain, although a change to the law was being considered in 2019.[89] Motors to assist a pedal-driven bicycle are permitted, and Lime-E bicycles were introduced in 2018.



  1. ^ Malden,[39] and with Spin: Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Brookline, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Needham, Newton, Quincy, Revere, Waltham, Watertown, and Winthrop.[40] Dockless bikes are excluded from the Hubway operating area.


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  2. ^ Newsom, John (June 1, 2017). "Green machines: New bike share program gets its start at UNCG". News & Record. Greensboro, North Carolina. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  3. ^ Diaz, Johnny (July 24, 2017). "What are those bright green bikes in Key Biscayne? It's LimeBike, new bike sharing program". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  4. ^ Parrott, Jeff (July 7, 2017). "Bike-sharing company LimeBike is coming to South Bend". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
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  38. ^ "Bike Share - Transportation". City of Bellevue. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  39. ^ "Malden Debuts Ofo and LimeBike - Dockless Bike Sharing Programs" (Press release). City of Malden. October 24, 2017.
  40. ^ Vaccaro, Adam (April 13, 2018). "Thousands of dockless bikes headed for Boston's suburbs". Boston Globe.
  41. ^ Repko, Melissa (August 4, 2017). "Is Dallas shifting gears? LimeBike, Spin join Big D's bike-share market". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  42. ^ "Bike Share". City of Green Bay.
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  48. ^ "Walnut Creek latest to share in the bike-share movement". East Bay Times. 2018-01-23. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  49. ^ "Los monopatines eléctricos llegan a Buenos Aires". La Nacion (in Spanish). 2019-05-21. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
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  68. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
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External links[edit]