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Lime pulling scooters out of Providence; two new companies rolling in

Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) –  One week after Bird scooters disappeared from the streets of Providence, Lime is also pulling its fleet.

Unlike Bird, which was rejected by the city after applying to renew its permit, Lime is leaving voluntarily. A spokesperson said the company wasn’t issued enough scooter permits by the city for the program to be financially sustainable.

“We are proud of Providence for being forward thinking about micromobility and remain hopeful about partnering to serve the community again in the future,” Lime spokesperson Alex Youn said.

The Lime scooters will be off the streets by Friday, according to the company. Lime says more than 21,000 people took 100,000 rides during the time the bright green scooters were in Providence.

The city has already offered new scooter permits to two newcomers: Spin and VeoRide, according to city spokesperson Emily Crowell.

Providence has also doubled the size of the scooter program from 300 to 600 scooters allowed on the street, according to new regulations that went into effect this week.

The new policy will also allow scooters to be on the streets later at night, until 10 p.m., returning at 5:00 a.m. The previous policy required the scooters to be picked up at sunset and returned at sunrise. (The e-scooter companies pay local residents to take the scooters home and charge them).

This is the second year of the scooter program, which started in haste last year in response to Bird dropping off a fleet of scooters with no notice over the summer. Bird left the city after the new scooter policy was enacted, then returned with the proper permits.

This time around, four companies applied for the updated program. Spin, VeoRide and Lime were all awarded permits. Bird was not selected, according to Crowell.

The applications were weighed using a point system that included “rogue launches,” similar to what Bird did last year, as a factor.

Lime was offered 250 scooter slots of the 600, according to Crowell. A Lime spokesperson said the company wanted a larger fleet of 400.

Electric scooters and bikes have been as popular as they have been controversial over the past year.

Police said teens learned how to break into JUMP bikes and used them for free while committing crimes over the summer. The bikes, owned by Uber, were pulled from the streets in August amid the controversy.

The dockless scooters, which users can leave on public sidewalks rather than stowed in a rack, have also drawn the ire of pedestrians and homeowners who have found the scooters blocking their paths or driveways.

Lime scooters even had to be fished out of the Providence River, after vandals apparently tossed them in.

The new policy specifically addresses scooters found in bodies of water or private property, requiring the companies to resolve such complaints within two hours.

The new policy also requires the companies to create scooter parking zones throughout the city, and educate riders about where they can and cannot leave the scooters.

Andrew Miles of VeoRide said the company is aiming for early to mid-October to bring their fleet to the city. A spokesperson for Spin did not immediately respond.

Steph Machado (smachado@wpri.com) covers Providence, politics and more for WPRI 12. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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