Reno City Council Rejects Staff Recommendation to Extend Pilot Period of Lime
UPDATE: At a Reno City Council meeting on Wednesday, officials rejected a staff recommendation to extend the pilot period for Lime.
UPDATE, March 2019:
At a Reno City Council meeting on Wednesday, officials rejected a staff recommendation to extend the pilot period for Lime.
In a staff report released the same day, an amendment to the Restate Dockless Bike Share Franchise Agreement would extend the pilot period through January 31, 2020, as well as require education and outreach plan prior to launching electric bicycles and electric scooters.
Consideration of student discounts, senior discounts and Lime access discounts for low-income customers were included in the amendment.
The council also requested the city direct Lime to take measure about minor verification in the amendment, stating that users must be at least 18 years old, have a valid driver's license, and if minors do ride, they are to use pedal bicycles only as long as the parent or guardian takes full responsibility for the minor's use of the bicycle.
It's unclear if this is the last time residents will see Lime in Reno, but the Reno City Council is waiting for clarification from the State Legislature on the legalities of those forms of transportation.
To read the full staff report, visit this link here.
UPDATE, January 9, 2019: The Reno City Council has voted to move forward with a one year extension to the franchise agreement with Lime. The new agreement with expire January 31st, 2020
The decision didn't come without some concerns, but overall, nearly the entire council was in favor.
Moving forward, council members are hopeful Lime will continue with good communication and marketing efforts with their users. Mayor Hillary Schieve says safety should also continue to be a top priority as Lime implements new changes in 2019.
"It will never be perfect, you will have people that won't treat them well and people will complain, but I don't think we change the thought process unless we have programs like this that make us think differently," says Mayor Schieve.
Gabriel Scheer, the director of strategic development with Lime, says he's very pleased with the councils willingness to move forward with Lime on Reno's city streets. He says consumers should expect to see some new developments this year.
"People are adopting scooters and e-bikes much more than they're adopting pedal bikes so we have not gone away from pedal bikes, but I do see them decreasing," says Scheer. "I see more utilization on the scooters and e-bikes and I think its because they're fun and they have the ability to get you there faster and effortlessly."
Currently Lime only has the pedal bikes on the streets of Reno, but they hope to get the electric bikes in the fleet soon, finding success in other cities. As for the scooters, Lime has to work at the state level to get them onto the streets since e-scooters must follow motor vehicle laws; falling under the definition of "moped" under Nevada revised statutes.
One faithful Lime user is excited for the electronic changes coming to the equipment.
"A lot of people are looking for an easy way to get from point A to point B, I think they want things that are fast and I think you're taking out the fear factor from people that don't know how to ride bikes, says Nelson Gonzalez, student at UNR.
Original Story: The Reno City Council has decided to continue Lime's franchise agreement until January 2019, when the contract expires. At that time, council members will discuss Lime's future with the city.
On Monday, the Sparks City Council voted unanimously not to renew Lime's franchise agreement when it expires in January.
Last week, the City of Reno issued a cease-and-desist letter to the company about its premature launch of scooters. In response, the company pulled its scooters off the streets. Lime's bikes remain in service across Reno.
"I've seen the huge popularity of the use of Lime bikes and I really think we're a progressive city and this is designed to be an experiment," says Councilwoman Naomi Duerr. "We knew there might be hiccups, otherwise if there weren't, we would've just gone ahead and done a full on contract."
On Wednesday, Lime representatives came before the city council to apologize to apologize for the premature launch of the scooters.
"We regret how it happened, on the other hand we're really trying to make this work and make it work so we're here for the long term," says Gabriel Scheer, Director of Strategic Development for Lime. "I think we had to acknowledge to council that we made that misstep, you know we screwed up on that and we're trying to build something that works."
The City of Reno says it remains 'optimistic' about its relationship with Lime.
The City says public safety remains its first priority. Lime e-scooters must follow all motor vehicle laws because they fit under the definition of ‘moped’ under Nevada Revised Statutes.
“This is a pilot project, this is not a done deal by any stretch of the imagination. We need to hear from Lime what their plans are for the near term and the long term," City of Reno spokesman Jon Humbert told us last week.
Sparks was part of a regional pilot program that started in summer, and while people in the city actually rode more than the national average, around 42 minutes per ride, there were still issues with litter, as well as last week's premature launch.
On Monday, Sparks Councilman Ron Smith told us, "They dropped the bikes in Reno, a week ago, not sure when it was, and they started showing up in Sparks. We still don't have an answer from Lime Bike, whether those were legal."
Washoe County released this statement to us last Wednesday:
Washoe County, along with our regional partners that implemented a Bike Share pilot program, stands by the sentiment of disappointment with the execution of Lime Scooters in our region. Washoe County, along with City of Reno, City of Sparks, Regional Transportation Commission, University of Nevada, Reno and Reno Sparks Indian Colony have worked collaboratively to bring Bike Share to our community.
With public safety at the heart of our decisions, we have been deferring to City of Reno as the lead in exploring the regulations on scooters, as they are primarily used in the urban areas, not in the unincorporated areas of Washoe County. Our understanding was that the City of Reno and Lime were working through logistics of compliance with current regulations and we would be properly notified of a launch date. As stated in our agreement, ‘the Contractor must demonstrate the ability to comply with local and state regulations and must notify users of requirements before use of the electric scooter’. We stand by our partners and are hopeful of a mutually-agreed upon resolution with Lime.
Lime released this statement to us last Tuesday night:
We are interested in working with the City and all of our partners in Northern Nevada to ensure continued services and the best result for all. We believe the code authorizes scooter operations under our franchise agreement. We are committed to work with the city to find a solution. We hear the city’s request to C&D and will not deploy tomorrow. However, some community members have already seized on the economic opportunity of charging our scooters and will be deploying in the morning. We will collect those as quickly as possible and hope to have productive conversations with the city as quickly as possible.”
Original Story: First it was Lime Bikes, now we get Lime Scooters.
The electric Lime Scooters have already gained popularity in some cities and soon we will start seeing them in the Biggest Little City. You may have already started seeing them in South Lake Tahoe and one of the main concerns when it was launching there and now a concern for Reno is safety. "One of the concerns was safety and with that we partnered with local organizations and fire departments to give out helmets," says Cesar Cardona, City Launcher & General Manager for Lime.
Lime says soon certain businesses in the area will have special Lime Bike helmets you can request to use when you are on the bikes or scooters. And since these scooters are electric and do need to be charged, Lime says they have a team of people who will be patrolling the area 24/7 to recharge the scooters and fix any any broken ones. "It is something that the user can also report with the app and it helps us bring the vehicle back online as soon as possible," says Cardona.
Another issue brought up was how the Lime Bikes are being parked now, they have been found in trees and even in the Truckee River. So will that trend continue with the scooters? "We are also increasing our patrols around the river and other areas that are a concern for us," explains Cardona.
Currently Lime Bikes are a $1 for every 30 minutes, for the Lime Scooters it will be a $1 to check out and 15 cents per minute after. A main topic with these cities are where we can ride the scooters. "People can only ride in city streets and (we) recommend don't ride in trail or parks and the main concern with that is speed," says Cardona.
When it comes to speed the bikes can only go up to 15 miles per hour but they are talking with the city to find a way to slow down the scooters in certain areas. "We are working on the capability to slow down the scooters in certain areas called GEO Fencing and that is when the city requests it," says Cardona.
In the future Lime also hopes to have select businesses around the area to call themselves a 'Lime Hub' letting users park bikes and scooters in front of their businesses making it easier to find the vehicles.
A fleet of scooters was deployed throughout the city this morning. Several are available now at Hub Coffee Roasters on Riverside Drive.