'Lime Patrol' introduced to counter e-scooter issues with parking, safety
'Courteous' service will help riders use new tech responsibly, Lime manager says
Since their introduction in the summer of 2019, Calgarians have enjoyed an enthusiastic relationship with e-scooters — in fact, the city says its e-scooter pilot program saw nearly 10,000 trips per day last August.
But the local scooter experience has not been without its challenges.
To combat these issues, scooter rental company Lime is introducing Lime Patrol — a team of ambassadors who will frequent high-use areas like Eau Claire to educate riders on safety and parking.
"We've seen incredible demand, but we also need to make sure that we're being responsive to the challenges, and we're not perfect yet," said Mike Markevich, Lime's general manager in Calgary.
"It's our job to accelerate the etiquette … [and by] bringing a physical presence, we'll see people more and more park correctly, park smartly and ride in the correct areas."
According to Markevich, about one per cent of users park their scooters incorrectly.
That percentage seems small, he said, until the city's substantial ridership is taken into account.
"One per cent of a lot is still something, and we know that it's really important for the city — as well as Lime — to make sure that our scooters are parked correctly [and] safely."
In-app instructions and city stalls help streamline service
The company said in a press release that cities with Lime Patrol — including Paris, Los Angeles, California and Spokane — have reported considerable drops in scooter parking complaints.
And if you're worried about getting a lecture from the representatives for making a scooter mistake, don't fret, Markevich said.
"These are ambassadors; this is a courteous team," Markevich said.
"I think there's just a lack of familiarity and education, and nobody here is being malicious. Nobody is intentionally trying to block a sidewalk."
Combined with in-app notifications that teach e-scooter users how to park properly and ride safely, Markevich said he hopes Lime Patrol will make a difference for riders and pedestrians alike.
"We know our sidewalks are incredibly important, they are shared by [scooter] users and non-users," he said.
"It's our job to make sure that this new technology is being used responsibly."
The City of Calgary has repurposed former Car2Go stalls as parking for e-scooters and created designated parking spots painted on sidewalks.
Markevich said these are ways to finesse the service that keeps Calgarians zipping around the city in the summer.
And during COVID-19, he said, scooters are an especially valuable service because they are open-air, single-occupancy and affordable.
"We're seen such a huge popularity and demand in Calgary," Markevich said.
"We lead the world in trips per scooter, which is just a testament to, I think, the commitment from staff across the city, [and] a testament to the ridership."
With files from Mike Symington, Elissa Carpenter and Robson Fletcher