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Micromobility startup Lime expands to Bogota

This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)

Contxto – One of the world’s largest micromobility companies, Lime, just went through a growth spurt in Colombia. Last week, the California-based startup expanded services to Bogota while also announcing plans to debut in Medellin later this year.

In Summary

Following Lime’s arrival to Cali last year, the electronic scooter sensation continues in Colombia seeing how Lime brought 200 vehicles to Bogota on April 25. While operations are growing, the startup is still working with authorities in Cali to implement the best game plan, however.

“The fleet in Bogota is a very controlled program,” said Lime Colombia Manager, Enrique Cuellar. “We’re convinced that this type of innovation needs regulation and we’re waiting to see how the process will end on behalf of the district. For now, we’ll avoid the use of public space until we reach an agreement with the local government.”

In-Depth

Lime places much emphasis on “clean mobility” via electronic transport as part of its business model. According to Andrew Savage, Lime’s vice president of sustainability, a fleet of 100,000 electric scooters or bicycles could decrease up to 300,000 daily public transportation trips.

In theory, fewer passengers taking buses would result in fewer vehicles on the road. This is a particularly relevant issue in the Colombian capital that’s dealing with severe pollution and traffic congestion.

To achieve a smaller carbon footprint, Lime must calculate how much public space is necessary to ensure that vehicles and electronic scooters can coexist in the same vicinity.

While things are still getting fine-tuned, Bogota users can download the app to benefit from the service. It costs COP$1,500 (approximately US$0.46) to unlock the vehicle and COP$300 (approximately US$0.09) per minute. Travelers can go up to 50 kilometers with a maximum speed of 20 kilometers.

Today, Lime is present in over 100 markets and valued at over US$2.4 billion. Around 30 percent of users invest in the company’s scooters or bicycles to replace their private cars, which translates to 8.4 million fewer car trips a year. In the process, this saves 380,000 gallons of gasoline and 3,000 tons of carbon emissions.

Conclusion

I personally don’t think electronic scooters or public bicycles will be disappearing anytime soon. They’re low-impact, convenient and all around fun to ride. Although Mexican startup, Grin, may be the most visible micromobility startup in Colombia since it offers services in partnership with Rappi, Lime is certainly ready to compete for some of that market share.

Ultimately, Lime has seen over 50 million scooters and bicycle trips since launching in mid-2017. This equates to circling the globe 2,000 times in terms of mileage, and more than 15 million subscriptions.

-JA

Jacob Atkins
Jacob Atkins is a journalist specializing in Latin America. He studied journalism and international relations at American University in Washington, D.C. and has previously reported from Chile, Ecuador, Haiti and Mexico. When he isn't writing he's most likely hiking or drawing.

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