Lime rolls out shared e-scooters at Science Park

Lime's e-scooters are deployed at Singapore Science Park 1 and 2, through a partnership with property developer Ascendas-Singbridge. The devices cost $1 to unlock, and 20 cents for every minute they are used.
Lime's e-scooters are deployed at Singapore Science Park 1 and 2, through a partnership with property developer Ascendas-Singbridge. The devices cost $1 to unlock, and 20 cents for every minute they are used.PHOTO: LIME

American firm also in talks to introduce its PMDs at two other business parks

Shared e-scooter company Lime has begun rolling out its personal mobility devices (PMDs) in Singapore, through a partnership with property developer Ascendas-Singbridge.

Lime's e-scooters are deployed at Singapore Science Park 1 and 2, the American company said in a statement yesterday.

The Straits Times understands that the devices have been available at the locations for at least the past two weeks.

Valued at US$1.1 billion (S$1.5 billion), Lime was formed in January last year and currently operates in more than 125 markets worldwide.

It is one of several firms offering shared e-scooters that have emerged in the last two years. Lime's rival, Bird - also from the United States - was valued at US$2 billion earlier this year and operates in more than 100 cities in countries such as the US, France and Israel.

Last month, Singapore-based Beam announced that it had raised US$6.4 million to roll out its rental PMDs here.

Checks by ST last Wednesday found more than 20 of Lime's green and black PMDs ready to be hired at the Ascent building in Science Park Drive.

The devices cost $1 to unlock, and 20 cents for every minute they are used. A four-minute ride costs $1.80.

Lime's Asia-Pacific regional general manager, Mr Anthony Fleo, declined to say how many e-scooters the firm has here, or how much Lime has invested in its Singapore operations.

He said the firm had a "substantial fleet" available, but would work with partners to determine the appropriate numberto deploy, increasing them according to demand.

Mr Fleo said Lime is also in discussions to introduce its PMDs at Changi Business Park and International Business Park - both also managed by Ascendas-Singbridge - as well as other locations.

Lime has a "dedicated local operations team" that regularly charges and deploys its scooters.

Mr Fleo said it was considering hiring freelancers to do these tasks, and the firm is studying whether this complies with regulations here.

He also confirmed Lime will apply for the Land Transport Authority's PMD-sharing licence - which will allow it to expand its operations islandwide - once applications open in January.

Though in recent months Lime had recalled some of its scooters in the US over fire safety and breakage concerns, Mr Fleo insisted that these would not be issues with its fleet here as "vulnerable scooters were quickly removed from circulation before Lime came to Singapore" .

Mr Denis Koh, who chairs PMD-enthusiast group Big Wheel Scooters Singapore, said his experience with Lime's e-scooters has been positive. "They are sturdy, powerful and the design is well-thought-out," said the 46-year-old.

Mr Koh said he believes the nascent PMD-sharing sector here will be able to avoid the pitfalls associated with bike-sharing, such as indiscriminate parking. He added that schemes such as Singapore's Safe Riding Programme, as well as Lime's own Respect the Ride campaign, will help educate users on safe riding practices.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2018, with the headline 'Lime rolls out shared e-scooters at Science Park'. Print Edition | Subscribe