Lime is back in Auckland, but not as you know it: red scooters and e-bikes will be zooming around the city from today.

The US-based Lime beat out homegrown e-scooter company Flamingo for a six-month licence from Auckland Council, operating 830 e-scooters from previous operator Jump by Uber (now owned by Lime) plus two Singapore operators.

Overall, the total allocation of e-scooters has been chopped from 3200 to 2490, after Auckland Council announced its latest lineup of e-scooter licensees, which will take to the pavement from September 4.

The new-look Lime vehicles, made up of 830 Jump scooters and 500 Jump e-bikes, will each come with a helmet which riders are encouraged to wear.

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A raft of safety measures have been added to the re-launched, red e-scooters – including larger wheels, dual braking, a wide footboard and lower centre of gravity for better stability and rider balance.

The Jump bike, an electric pedal-assisted vehicle, has “a reputation for safety”, Lime’s
government affairs manager Lauren Mentjox said.

Jump bikes have swappable batteries, and up to a 60km range on a single charge.

Lime got temporarily kicked off Auckland streets in early 2019 after a braking issue that caused dozens of injuries, and the company lost its licence later that year despite instituting new procedures including more regular hands-on checks of its hardware and real-time performance monitoring.

President Joe Kraus said the company had taken time over the past nine months to reflect on how it could “be a better and more reliable partner to Auckland”.

“Our top priority is providing consistent and safe services for our riders while paying special attention to public spaces, pedestrians and vulnerable populations,” he said in a statement.

Riders are encouraged to wear a helmet while scooting around the city. Photo / Supplied
Riders are encouraged to wear a helmet while scooting around the city. Photo / Supplied

Mentjox said riders were always encouraged to wear a helmet, although it wasn’t mandatory when riding a scooter.

“We have a range of additional safety initiatives that we will be rolling out in the coming days and weeks,” she said.

“We will also be inviting riders to take part in our First Ride programme, which consists of a 30-minute hands-on scooter-safety course for new riders to learn to ride one of our vehicles in a safe environment. The programme also covers parking etiquette.”

Users will be able to book the Jump e-scooters on Auckland streets from September 4 using both the Uber and Lime platforms, with launch promos available on the latter platform.

Riders who use the Lime app will also be able to take advantage of Lime Pass daily and monthly offers.

“Lime is the only micromobility company to partner with Google Maps, making multimodal-trip planning even easier in Auckland,” Mentjox said.

Focus: Michael Neilson reviews the new batch of scooters to hit the city. Video / Jason Oxenham

Lime operates more than 150,000 e-scooters and e-bikes daily in more than 120 cities and 24 countries.

In New Zealand, Lime also operates in Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, Dunedin and Selwyn District.

The company recently secured a further one year permit in Christchurch as well as renewals
in Paris and Chicago, two of the biggest e-scooter markets in the world.

In May 2020, 82 per cent of riders surveyed said that Lime helped them use motor vehicles less often, with 49 per cent of respondents saying they’d used Lime to get to or from public transport.