The return of as many as 1500 brightly coloured share bikes to the Gold Coast comes after Australia’s only electric share bike scheme controversially returned to Sydney streets in October after a coronavirus-induced hiatus, and Brisbane has opted to ditch its decade-old CityCycle share bikes for e-bikes.
The electrified Lime e-bikes will replace the orange pedal-powered Mobikes that ran across the Gold Coast from February 2018 to June 2019, splitting the city into a divide between those who loved the bikes or loathed them.
Many considered the dockless cycles an ugly blight on the landscape with riders dumping bikes on suburban streets, in parks, up trees and in city waterways. However, figures on Mobike usage show there were more than 100,000 people on the Gold Coast registered to ride and the bikes were utilised at least twice a day.
Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate said it was time Gold Coasters got on their bikes again.
“By choosing a form of active travel, by bike, bus, tram, foot or ferry, you’re helping to reduce the demand on our road network and doing something good for yourself as well,” he said.
“The bikes are ride-assistance, so if you’re an old guy like me going up a hill, the battery will get me over the top.”
The Coast fleet of red and lime bikes are branded ‘Jump is now Lime’ because Lime recently acquired the Jump fleet from Uber.
Up to 750 bikes will be wheeled out across the city immediately with the scheme to grow to 1500 bikes. The bikes will initially be placed in high traffic areas and close to public transport stops.
Lime electric-assist bikes already operate in more than 25 cities around the world, including Sydney, Rome, Paris, London, Berlin, and Auckland. Melbourne is also considering replacing its bright blue Bike Share scheme, the first city-wide bike sharing system in Australia that was launched in 2010, with e-bikes.
The bikes cost $1 to unlock and 45 cents per minute. Riders can also opt for a day pass at $16.99 for 24 hours of rides or a monthly unlock pass for $5.99 which waives the unlock fees.
Once the bike has been used, riders leave it at their destination. If a bike stays in the one place and hasn’t been used for 24 hours, the Lime team move it back to a higher demand area.
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