When I first learned about the e-bike sharing program on the North Shore, I was very excited as it is the perfect solution to cycling the North Shore hills. As a family of four that already owns two e-bikes, we are aware and make full use of the huge benefits of e-bikes on the North Shore, yet we cannot go on an outing all together. I was looking forward to some fun family e-bike rides and to try them out as soon as the program launched.
It turns out that you have to be 18 years old to operate the e-bikes, which makes sense, so the family rides are sadly out of the question. Nonetheless, when my friend and I came across the new Lime e-bike sharing station at Kings Mill Walk Park on our way to Rona yesterday, we decided to give it a try and cycle to Rona.
As my friend did not carry her phone, I wanted to rent two bikes from my phone app. It didn't work because the app seems to only allow one rental per phone. A "group ride" option is mentioned in the online FAQs but it's not apparent how to activate it from the app itself. While Lime can fix this shortcoming by changing the app settings, the much bigger problem is cost.
The program is so expensive that it makes it nearly impossible for the community to use. Our seven minutes and 25 seconds rental with only the first bike unlocked yesterday added up to $3.81 ($1 unlocking fee + $0.30/minute). A 60-minute rental would cost $19 per person! For longer rides, the ride pass option for $19.99 for 24 hours of unlimited riding would add up to about $80 for a group of four people.
This is unaffordable and cannot in any way compete with taking a car, taking a bus, renting a cab, using a car share service, walking, scootering – or even buying your own e-bike with the money you save by not using the e-bike sharing system for a whole summer.
This program could be a game changer for the North Shore in so many ways – please make it affordable and usable for the community.
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