15 Jan 2019

Lime working to win over Wellington, but it's not easy

8:13 pm on 15 January 2019

Wellington is the last in line for Lime's expansion across New Zealand's biggest cities and its sights are set on the capital - but they're not alone.

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Lime e-scooters have been launched in some of the country's major cities. Photo: RNZ/ Nick Monro

The Wellington City Council (WCC) isn't completely convinced the scooters are safe enough for the CBD and they're also in discussions with other providers.

The Lime scooter trial in Auckland has been extended and services have also been rolled out in the Hutt Valley, Christchurch and Dunedin.

However, there have already been a spate of injuries including broken collarbones, kneecaps, a concussions and even a collapsed lung.

WCC spokesperson Richard MacLean said the potential risks were well known.

"We're happy the scooters have been successful in the Hutt Valley but have to be mindful the dynamics of Wellington City are different - we have a large population in a compact CBD," he said.

The Council is also preparing a report on the implications of e-scooters at a council meeting next month.

"We want to take this carefully because one of the things about Central Wellington is the streets are narrow, there's a heck of a lot of people, there's a lot of traffic and we don't want e-scooters causing mayhem," he said.

But Lime is working to show the council it's a safety conscious company.

Lime manager Sam Seiniger said they were holding safety courses in Petone and Upper Hutt on Saturday.

"We're going to have our ambassadors on the ground, showing people how to ride safely, how to ride on the footpath and respect pedestrians, how to park their scooters appropriately, check they're working properly and keeping themselves safe," he said.

He said they would also be handing out helmets to those that need them.

However, even if the WCC agreed to introduce e-scooters, Lime might not have the monopoly.

It's also in discussions with other e-scooter providers.

"One of the issues we have to look at is whether there's only one e-scooter provider in town, the question has to be does this turn into something similar to how the taxi industry works," Mr MacLean said.

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Lime has been having to prove it is a safety-conscious company. Photo: RNZ/ Nick Monro

Safety issues overseas

Meanwhile, media in Switzerland are reporting Lime scooter services has been halted in two Swiss cities, after a number of their scooters were braking suddenly, causing injury to users.

Lime's director of government affairs for Asia-Pacific, Mitchell Price, said he couldn't rule out scooters being recalled here.

"We're currently investigating this issue and we'll be recalling any scooters that are affected globally off the streets, safety is a number priority for our business, users and the communities we operate in."

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