The e-scooter business in Minnesota continues to expand.
On Thursday, industry giant Lime launched a pilot program introducing scooters to the city of Rochester.
The Lime vehicles will be the first e-scooters to roll out in Rochester, and Rochester is Lime’s first city in Minnesota outside the seven-county Twin Cities region. (The company currently operates scooters in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Golden Valley, and Eden Prairie.)
A small fleet will be placed in downtown Rochester to test interest. If demand meets expectations, Lime will scale up to a full fleet of 200, the company said in a statement. Scooters cost $1 to unlock, and then 29 cents a minute.
Lime touts its e-scooters as a more affordable transportation option, often called “micro-mobility.” Lime is part of Rochester’s larger micro-mobility vision.
According to a city statement, the micro-mobility initiative is part of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) Integrated Transit strategy, which includes a focus on filling in “the ‘gap’ that occurs for commuters during their first and last mile between transit stops and home.”
Lime scooters will complement the city’s existing bike share program, and the city plans to continue adding options.
“Rochester’s forward-thinking commitment to providing its community with diverse transportation options is inspiring,” said Nico Probst, Midwest government relations for Lime, in a statement. “We are excited to partner with the city on that goal and help better connect residents and visitors to the city’s many amenities with our fleet of electric scooters that make it easier and more affordable to get around.”
The city and Lime are emphasizing safety to prevent injuries that have been a pain point of the industry. For instance, it’s urged that riders wear helmets, follow all normal traffic laws and speed limits, and peruse Lime’s in-app tutorial on rules and instructions on riding.
It’s also noted that when users are done with a scooter, they should avoid parking it in the way of pedestrian walkways, service ramps, and bus/transit stops.
Terms of the pilot program agreement give the city the right to reduce the number of scooters on the street at any time. The program will run through November 30.