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Second Scooter Option Comes to Columbia

Scooter enthusiasts now have a new option — Lime scooters arrived Tuesday in Columbia.

Like with Bird, riders use a mobile app to find and unlock Lime scooters. Also like Bird, Lime requires riders to have a valid driver’s license, be 18 years old and wear a helmet.

But Lime is slightly cheaper. Lime starts at $1 to unlock a scooter and costs 15 cents a minute to ride, 5 cents cheaper than Bird scooters.

Second Ward Councilman Mike Trapp hopes the new addition of scooters will augment the bus system and provide as many transportation options as possible.

“I see it more as an adjunct than competition,” Trapp said. “Having as many transportation options as possible would be best.”

At least one rider, MU student Kevin Wilson, 20, plans on using both scooters going forward. However, Lime’s payment system may play a role in deciding which one he uses.

“One thing about Lime is you have to preload money to your account, so that may determine my decision,” he said, adding he didn’t like having to do so.

To make scooters more accessible, Lime offers an affordability program, Lime Access, for low-income residents or for those without a smartphone.

An individual needs to demonstrate eligibility or participation in any state or federally run assistance program to receive a 50 percent discount on scooter rides, according to Lime’s website. Riders without smartphones have a text-to-unlock option, as well.

The city is still working toward reaching an agreement with Bird that would place regulations on scooter use and safety. The agreement will serve as a template for other scooter service providers, such as Lime or Pony, another company looking to make inroads into Columbia.

The agreement will be introduced as an ordinance at Monday's City Council meeting, and a public discussion and vote are scheduled for Nov. 19.