GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — More transportation is scooting its way into the Grand Rapids streets this summer after a $400,000 budget allocation towards the e-bike and scooter program last fall.
Grand Rapids is partnering with Lime, an electric transportation company, to bring more rentable bikes and scooters to the downtown area.
The city currently has about 150 bikes and 300 scooters, but Lime will increase this fleet up to 750 bikes and scooters as demand comes. Their riders will be able to use the bikes and scooters in a 12-square mile area, which includes downtown Grand Rapids and nearby neighborhoods.
The City Commission provided the initial Lime program with $400,000 in August in hopes of improving community access and safety in the city.
Now, they plan to have bikes and scooters especially centered in lower income areas around the city as an easy, affordable option for transportation. Each bike and scooter costs $1 to unlock and 25 cents per minute to use, all done through their Lime app. Those who qualify can also sign up for discounted rates from their app.
Kristin Bennett, the Transportation Projects Manager for Grand Rapids, believes this type of transportation could also be a solution to any post-pandemic traffic.
“It’s an independent way of getting around, it’s relatively inexpensive, it’s certainly quiet, it’s also more environmentally friendly than getting in a car and driving,” she says.
“It’s also a good opportunity right now, especially as we’re coming out of the pandemic, we’re still a little bit limited on things like the number of seats on transit buses.”
Bennett says the scooters and bikes could be used as a solo form of transportation, or in conjunction with buses, trains and cars to shorten a morning commute.
“It’s like a walk-extender. You can get a lot farther in a short amount of time,” she says.
Lime employees will pick up the scooters and bikes around the city each time they need repairs and will disinfect them upon collection. There are 175 parking zones citywide for easy drop-off.
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