by Tyler Hale
Lime, the scooter-sharing service, is closing down in 12 markets worldwide. The service will remain operational in Little Rock, where it has a contract with the city.
The company is also laying off approximately 100 employees, or 14 percent of its workforce.
The 12 markets that will be closed include Atlanta, Ga.; Phoenix, Ariz.; San Antonio, Texas; San Diego, Calif.; Linz, Austria; Bogota, Colombia; Montevideo, Lima; Puerto Vallarta; Rio de Janerio and Sao Paulo.
In a blog post on the Lime website, CEO Brad Bao says that the closures are due to the profitability concerns. He writes that Lime has shifted its focus to profitability and the 12 markets that are closing have not adopted the company’s “micromobility transportation solutions” as quickly as others.
“At Lime, we remain focused on our long term goal: to play an instrumental role in reimagining and changing the way we live in and move around cities across the globe. We are immensely grateful for the partnerships we’ve enjoyed with each one of these cities and the continued support from our riders, and we remain hopeful we can reintroduce Lime back into these communities when the time is right.”
Bao did not specify a timeline for potentially reintroducing Lime back into these communities.
In January 2019, Little Rock city leaders announced that the city intended to terminate its relationship with Lime effective May 15. The company launched its presence in Little Rock on Jan. 8, 2019. In a letter to Toby Sun, CEO of Neutron Holdings, which owns Lime, city attorney Thomas Carpenter wrote that the city was “disappointed” in Lime’s safety considerations.
“After much consideration it has been determined that it is in the best interest of our City to take this action. Although many people in our city have enjoyed your electric scooters, they are not without their problems and safety is a concern. The City has received numerous complaints about underage operators and safety provisions are largely lacking,” he wrote. “The City has been disappointed in Lime’s lack of attention to the safety of its riders and pedestrians. The City truly hopes your company will address these issues and make the use of your electric scooters safer for everyone.”
Lime subsequently took measures to address these safety concerns. One of the issues it addressed was the issue of underage operators. The company added a new app download to curtail underage usage.
However, in May, the City of Little Rock decided to continue its relationship with Lime. The green scooters are a common sight around downtown Little Rock.
According to Stephanie Jackson, the spokesperson for the Little Rock Mayor’s Office, the city’s contract with Lime has been extended and an ordinance is currently being worked on to address further community concerns with the products.