By Jacqueline Corba
Dockless bikes hit the streets of the outer-boroughs of New York City on Friday, another big milestone in the exploding popularity of dockless bikes and e-scooters.
It's also another big step for Lime, the San Mateo, Calif., startup that has rapidly pushed into 70 markets in the U.S. and overseas.
Caen Contee, Lime's Vice President of Marketing, Business Development, and International Expansion, told Cheddar that entering the New York City market will be a test it needs to pass in order to further expand.
"We are really looking to grow into the boroughs, and prove how we can ultimately service larger areas," said Contee.
Lime is part of a pilot program organized by the city's Department of Transportation to test the concept of dockless bike-sharing. Unlike the current Citi Bike programs where people have to use designated stands to gain access to and deposit bikes, the dockless system allows people to locate bikes with an app and then leave them anywhere. Other start-ups participating in the pilot program include Jump, Ofo, Motivate, and Pace.
Contee said while the program is starting only in the Rockaways, it won't prevent people from riding the Lime bikes to Manhattan. But, Lime will track bikes down through GPS and return them into the approved zone in Queens. Contee said he couldn't predict when dockless bikes would be available throughout New York City.
This launch comes on the heels of Lime announcing a massive $335 million round of financing from investors including Alphabet's GV, Fidelity, and Uber.
Uber will also become a strategic partner with Lime, and with Lime bikes and scooters being integrated into the Uber app. Contee said Lime is still working out details on the user experience.
"Ultimately you are going to be able to find and unlock a Lime. As to what that experience is, we are still determining that," said Contee. "Uber will be another opportunity for you to see what is available and compare it against other options."
Contee said the new funding round will help the start-up meet the demand the Uber partnership will ultimately bring Lime.
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