Scooter Start-Up Lime Offers Free Rides to the Polls, Joining Uber, Lyft

Photo Credit: JUAN CARLOS CARDENAS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
November 5, 2018
Updated 1mo ago

By Carlo Versano

Lime, the popular e-scooter company, is joining other ride-hailing and new mobility providers and offering free rides to users on Election Day to encourage turnout among people who cite transportation as a barrier to voting.

Uber and rival Lyft are both offering free and heavily-discounted rides, while Motivate, the bike-share behemoth that owns New York's CitiBike, will provide free bike rentals in nine markets.

Lime, which operates in more than 100 U.S. cities ranging from Baltimore to San Diego, will give all riders two free trips to help them get to the polls, Emily Warren, Lime's senior director of policy and public affairs, told Cheddar.

"Too often, transportation has been a barrier for people participating in the democratic process," she said.

Lime has also partnered with Vote.org and IamaVoter.com to provide riders with resources on the election ー how to find where they're registered, for example.

At the moment, It's en vogue for Silicon Valley's hottest brands to roll out a voting initiative for what is widely considered a hugely consequential election. But within the still-growing mobility sector, it's also a way to garner goodwill and publicity from a public that may still be skeptical ー particularly of scooters, which took cities by a disorganized storm over the last year.

Lime suffered a major setback when San Francisco denied its permit to return to that city ー its hometown ー over the summer. Then it had to do a preventative recall of 2,000 scooters last week over concerns the batteries could catch fire. Warren said that recall was for a fraction of Lime's nationwide fleet, and did not result in any injuries, citing a blog post the company published in response to the incident.

"We have no indication that there has ever been any risk to riders riding any of these scooters," she said.

Still, Lime said it would invest $3 million in a safety campaign that increases awareness over the dos and don'ts of scooter behavior and asks riders to take a pledge that they will "Respect the Ride" (the name of the initiative).

"It's very important that scooters and bikes are a positive part of the transportation ecosystem," Warren said. She said safety enhancements to scooter hardware and software are in the works.

On Election Day, Lime riders can punch in the code LIME2VOTE18 to unlock their free rides.

For full interview click here.