Lime, anyone? Well, this is a different kind of lime

Lime scooters (Southside Daily file/Courtesy of Pixabay)
Lime scooters (Southside Daily file/Courtesy of Pixabay)

NORFOLK — Commuting around this city just got easier.

City Council approved the ordinance for a shared scooter pilot program with Lime during Tuesday night’s City Council Meeting.

The move makes Norfolk the first city in Hampton Roads “to embrace the electric scooter company,” city officials said.

The pilot will assess the viability of this new mobility option for Norfolk residents and visitors. The initiative will last for one year, beginning June 24.

“We are excited to bring Lime to Norfolk. The City is committed to improving transportation access and providing first-and last-mile solutions to support public transit,” said Director of Transit Amy Inman. “This pilot program advances our commitment to ensure residents and visitors have convenient, reliable commuting options to safely reach their destination.”

The citywide program will launch in Norfolk with 150 e-scooters available on the market beginning June 24, with a goal of ramping to 500 e-scooters by Fourth of July weekend, officials said.

As a dockless system, riders can start, hold and end rides by parking the e-scooter in the public right of way, clear of building entrances and ramps. Lime ensures shared scooters are properly parked through preferred parking zones and photo verification.

Residents, students and visitors can make point-to-point trips in and around the city with just a tap on their smartphones. Lime also offers services for non-smartphone users and cash-based options through their Lime Access Program, according to the city.

E-scooter riders have the same rights of the road as bikes and cars and are expected to follow traffic laws accordingly. Additionally, e-scooter riders are encouraged to wear helmets while riding, authorities said.

To ride Lime, download the free Lime scooter app, available in the App Store or Google Play. Riders find available e-scooters and parking locations in the app. Lime rides cost $1 to unlock.

Another e-scooter company, Bird, had a run-in with the city in August of last year — an entanglement that ended in February when Bird representatives picked up their scooters impounded by the city.

The price tag: $22,000.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.