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London gets its first dockless e-bike hire scheme with Lime

US firm brings its distinctive green bikes to boroughs of Ealing and Brent

London’s first dockless bike share scheme offering electric-assist bikes started operations yesterday as US-based Lime began deploying 1,000 of its bright green bikes in the boroughs of Ealing and Brent.

The move comes just a week after the San Mateo, California-based company entered the UK market by setting up a similar scheme in Milton Keynes.

The bikes, branded Lime-E – as they are in other countries, meaning any similarity to the US slang term ‘Limey’ is presumably coincidental – have a rechargeable lithium battery and a maximum speed of 14.8mph.

The bikes can be unlocked for £1 via a smartphone app – available via the Lime UK website – then cost 15p for each minute they are used.

A 10-minute journey, therefore, including the unlocking fee, would cost £1 more than a single bus fare – irrespective of length of trip – which stands at £1.50.

Jaanaki Momaya, general manager of Lime UK, commented: “We’re excited to usher in a new era of smart urban mobility in London.

“Our local operations team is working hand-in-hand with city officials to ensure that Lime fits seamlessly into London’s robust transportation network.”

Founded only in January last year, Lime is now present in around 100 cities in the US and 15 countries worldwide, including Australia, France, Germany and Spain.

Besides standard bicycles and e-bikes, it also provides electric scooter hire in a number of countries but won’t be doing so in the UK due to current Department for Transport rules.

The launch of its e-bike rental service comes five years after former Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced plans to trial an electric version of the city’s cycle hire scheme to serve hillier parts of north London including Muswell Hill and Crouch End from a central hub at Finsbury Park, although the scheme never materialised.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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