Lime Scooters At Gateway Park May 23 2019

Lime Quietly Raises Prices on Scooter Rentals

Recently, Lime increased its pricing in Minneapolis and St. Paul from $1 plus 15 cents per minute to $1 plus 20 cents per minute.

Lime scooter ride on July 29, 2019.

Lime scooter ride on July 29, 2019. Photo: Author

For a typical five-minute ride, this increases the total cost by 14 percent, from $1.75 to $2 even. For a longer ride of 10 minutes, the increase is 20 percent.

Quoted price of a Lime scooter at 3 p.m. on a Thursday is 20 cents per minute.

Quoted price of a Lime scooter on August 1, 2019 at 3 p.m. is 20 cents per minute. Photo: Author

Rival Lyft, which joined the Minneapolis market this summer, had already increased prices subtly by adding sales tax on top of the rental price, adding 8 percent to the quoted amount. Lime includes taxes and fees in its pricing.

In Lime’s help documents, the company says that its pricing varies by market and time.

“Lime charges a fixed rate to unlock a vehicle and then per minute as you ride. Rates and promotions may vary by city, day of the week and time of day. Please refer to your Lime app for exact costs by tapping on a vehicle on the map.”

Lyft scooters are currently cheaper than Lime scooters.

Lyft scooters are currently cheaper than Lime scooters. Photo: Author

So far, Lyft has not followed suit by raising prices on quoted scooter rentals. Pricing on August 1, 2019 in downtown Minneapolis was $1 to start and 15 cents per minute. The quoted amount does not include an 8 percent sales tax.

Rates are increasing elsewhere across the country as well. In Washington, D.C. and San Diego, where scooters roll year-round, Lime charges $1 plus 24 cents per minute, while Lyft charges $1 plus 15 cents per minute plus a 6 percent to 8 percent sales tax. During a visit to San Diego in September 2018, a Bird rental cost $1 plus 15 cents per minute, sales tax included.

The highest cost of electric scooter rental this author could find was in Hoboken, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, where pricing was $1 plus 29 cents per minute, tax included. Hoboken is the only place in the greater New York City area where electric scooter rentals are allowed. Lyft has a local monopoly on micro mobility in New York City, where Lyft-owned Citi Bike charges $3 per 30 minutes for docked bikes, equivalent to $1 plus 7 cents per minute if you use the full 30 minutes, or $1 plus 20 cents per minute for a 10-minute ride.

Do you keep your electric scooter receipts? How have prices affected your electric joyrides or quick meeting dashes? Share your arithmetic and aspirations in the comments.

Conrad Zbikowski

About Conrad Zbikowski

Downtown Minneapolis resident covering local issues including parks, transportation, zoning, and development.