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Lime Bikes: it beats walking American transportation company’s first Canadian venture in Calgary

Specks of green have been popping up around Calgary’s core in recent weeks, there one minute, and gone the next. 

Lime Bike Calgary: Lime aims to reduce dependence on personal vehicles in Calgary through their bike rental service. (Photo by Jp Pitogo/SAIT)

American transportation company Lime has made its way into many U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia, but Calgary is the company’s first excursion into Canada.

The green bikes dotting downtown streets are electric, and unlock by the scanning of a QR code, much like the car2go service, introduced in 2012. They produce zero carbon emissions.

A Lime bike costs $1.00 for the first minute, and $0.30 for each minute after. Therefore, a 10-minute trip costs the rider $3.70.

Lime bikes are a pleasure to ride. As soon as both feet left the ground and I began to pedal, the extra push from the electricity was palpable. 

 (Photo by Jp Pitogo/SAIT)

This is a very clear positive for anyone who wants to enjoy cycling but worries that they don’t have the endurance. Lime bikes have a top speed of approximately 30 km/h. 

Much like car2go, there is an allowable radius that users cannot travel past. Lime bikes may go to the intersection of 14th St SW and 17th Ave SW, but no further. They can travel to the border of Mission, and to the edge of Hillhurst, but not further than Riley Park. Lime bikes are not allowed on the Stampede grounds.

Currently, the Lime bikes cannot reach the SAIT campus. 

(Photo by Jp Pitogo/SAIT)

Another potential downside I see to Lime bikes is that anyone can unlock it. One could  use their Lime bike to travel a considerable distance, step inside for a coffee, and come back outside to find their bike gone.

As I see it, Lime will be ideal for short trips or leisure, rather than daily commutes. Given that an 8-10 minute ride is near the same price as transit fare, I see downtown Calgary as the ideal location. Riding a Lime bike, one is not bound to bus routes and train lines.

Is it a viable alternative to transit? In some situations, I would say yes. For example, if I departed the CTrain on a downtown platform, and intended to get to 17th Ave, I would more than likely rent a Lime bike for 10 minutes rather than walk for 20. 

There are definite upsides and downsides, but it is important to remember that this service is brand new to the city. And hey, beats walking.

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