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Shared transportation services such as Uber, Lyft, and city bikes are now welcoming a new member to the team — electric scooters. LimeBike has developed Lime, an electric scooter service, and Bird offers a similar experience. Both companies now serve our city, Austin, Texas, so we did some research, went for a ride, and compared the two.
Pros: Lime offers riders an in-house designed scooter, the Lime-S. The electric scooter reaches 14.8 mph, has a 20 mile battery range, handbrake, digital speedometer, bike bell, and headlights. Lime-S scooters are widely available in 50 cities around the US. Our team went for a ride around Austin and it was easy to find the Lime-S. The Lime app works with the Google Maps platform; the scooters’ location is reliable and easy to find. If the rider cannot find the Lime-S scooter, they can ring its alarm to make the search easier. Riders pay $1, scan the QR-code, and complete a short How to Ride tutorial to unlock the Lime-S. The “Push Press Go” throttle controls the speed, it is bigger than Bird’s and hard to miss. Over all, the ride was fun, fast, and convenient.
Cons: The Lime-S is supposed to only reach1 4.8 mph because most cities have a 15 mph speed limit for electric scooters. However, during our ride, we reached a top speed of 16.9. Additionally, the How to Ride tutorial does not include a Local Laws and Regulations section, like Bird does. Instead, Lime suggests riders to check the regulations on their own. Lime is $1 to unlock + $.15 per minute, in most areas. We paid $3.70 for our 18 minute ride; the $.15 rate applied in Austin, but it may not in your city. Lastly, first-time riders take some time to fully gain control of the thumb throttle and speed.
Pros:Bird offers standard prices for all the cities it serves, $1 to unlock and $.15 per minute in all areas. The app is overall easy to use and it is more aesthetically pleasing than Lime’s. The interface, colors, and simplicity resemble Uber, you can read why in our previous post here. Bird operates with Apple Maps; the scooters are easy to locate and equipped with a location alarm. To unlock the Bird, riders scan the QR-code, their Driver’s License, and then complete a How to Ride tutorial that includes a Local Laws and Regulations slide. Bird has extra information and requirements to help riders stay safe.
Cons: Bird scooters are a Mi Electric Scooter design manufactured in China, which reach 15mph and have a 18.6 battery life; compared to Lime, Bird scooters can improve their battery’s longevity. Bird is in 18 cities and focuses on downtown locations; during our ride we planned around the Bird’s location because Lime’s scooters were easier to find. Bird does not mention the Driver’s License requirement anywhere on the app until after scanning the QR-code; one of our team members did not have her license, so she had to continue on the Lime-S. Bird mentions the Driver’s License requirement on their website, but most riders will use the app before visiting the website.
Whether you want to Lime or Bird, we recommend trying the electric scooters at least once! For us, the experience was fun, exciting, and convenient.