San Diego

Lime Scoots Back Into San Diego After Pulling Out Last Year

Lime brought back 500 new scooters and could stage up to 2,000 more around the city within a few weeks

Lime Scooters Large
Jodie Fleischer/NBCWashington

Lime returned to San Diego Monday with 500 Gen4 shared electric scooters and the intent to roll out up to 2,000 within the coming weeks.

The company previously pulled out of San Diego in early January 2020, citing its "path to profitability" and desire to focus efforts on other markets.

Lime's relaunch makes San Diego one of the first cities in North America to experience the Gen4 model. To preview its multimodal long-term plans for San Diego, Lime will hold one of its First Ride Academy safety training courses with the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition on Saturday.

"We're thrilled to return to San Diego this fall and we plan to be here for the long haul," said Karla Owunwanne, director of government relations at Lime. "We have the unique mix of global and local experience to design the best possible program for the city with industry-leading hardware in our Gen4 scooters and we hope to bring our e-bikes here soon as well."

The city claims Lime violated a geofencing rule but Lime said the city has not given any guidelines and has not been clear about specific violations. NBC 7's Artie Ojeda has more.

Lime will deploy its scooters "in support of the city's transportation and sustainability goals and will implement globally tested and locally focused strategies to deal with concerns like safe riding and proper parking," a company statement read. Following the launch, Lime will work with community partners like the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition to host a series of events intended to teach residents how to ride safely, park properly and generally operate scooters responsibly.

"We understand the keys to success in San Diego are safe riding, proper parking and affordable transportation for all, and we can't wait to launch and operate a program built on those foundations," Owunwanne said. "We look forward to working with the city and with partners like the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition to help the city meet its ambitious climate goals, support small businesses and provide safe and affordable ways for everyone to get around, regardless of income level."

Lime scooters will be available via the Uber app, and the company will also be offering its monthly subscription service Lime Prime -- which costs $5.99 per month and allows users to pay nothing for unlock fees on every ride and reserve vehicles up to 30 minutes in advance.

"As advocates for bicycling and alternative modes of transportation, we are proud to partner with Lime to build a micromobility program in San Diego that supports our diverse population," said Sylvie Froncek, programs director at the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. "We support Lime's long-term vision for San Diego, which includes shared e-bikes and scooters combined with the safe streets infrastructure our city needs to make shared electric vehicle programs work the way we know they can and should.

"We look forward to working with them to provide safe, affordable, and accessible ways to experience our city for everyone who lives here and anyone who visits," Froncek said.

The Lime Gen4 Scooter includes swept back handlebars -- intended to allow for more a comfortable grip -- a dual hand brake system, a lowered baseboard to optimize the center of gravity, a new kickstand with two legs and enhanced suspension and larger wheels.

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