You’re out on the town, and everyone’s having a good time.
But now that it’s time to head for the next destination, you and your mates face a problem: it’s too far to walk, but it’s too close to make calling an Uber worth it.
What do you do with this sweet spot?
Enter the Lime Scooter, an electric, for-rent scooter that’s convenient, fun, affordable, and as safe as you decide to make it.
You’ve seen these electric vehicles around, maybe on every corner of your city’s downtown area, perhaps in and around a large park or retail neighborhood.
Many people want to ride scooters (or are at least curious), but for some of those, the unknown is too much to overcome: how much is it?
What if I get charged a ridiculously expensive fare, and I don’t find that out until after they’ve already dinged my credit card?
Lime Scooter price is nothing to worry about, and let’s look at why that is.
Table Of Contents
Clarification: Different Lime Services
Before we dive into the topic of Lime Scooter price and cost, let’s first make an important differentiation between LimeBike and Lime Scooters.
LimeBike began in 2017 in San Francisco.
Unsurprisingly, it dealt with bikes.
You could rent a bike where you found it, ride it, and then leave it wherever was convenient for you to do so.
As the company succeeded and expanded, it rented electric bikes, pedal bikes, even electric mopeds, and then Lime joined other scooter companies in offering electric rides or e-scooters.
Lime Scooters are electric, one-person rental scooters that zip you here and there over short distances.
They’re easy to operate (there’s a throttle and a brake, and that’s about it), and they go about 15 mph for about an hour of battery life on one full charge.
As you could with the LimeBikes, you rent a scooter with the smartphone app that provides Lime access, ride it where you want to go, and then leave it where you need to when you reach your destination.
How Does Lime Scooter Price Work?
One of the great things about the Lime Scooter price is its affordability.
Overall, Lime-S scooters are very affordable.
Their pricing model is very straightforward, which is a breath of fresh air considering how complicated Lyft and Uber pricing can get.
Lime Scooter Fees
So your rate won’t surprise you at the end of the ride, Lime’s app shows you the rate you will pay when you scan your scooter.
When you set up the Lime app on your smartphone, you’ll enter your credit or bank card data.
Once the app has that information, you rent a scooter by scanning a QR code on the handlebar, and that’s it.
You’ll have the opportunity to say, “Too much money. No thanks.”
If you decide to move forward, you pay:
- $1 to unlock the Lime Scooter
- A per-minute rate until you deactivate your ride, again through the app
There is no surge pricing, so no matter what time of day or night or what day of the week you rent your Lime Scooter, this fixed-rate model is the price you pay, with no surprises.
And unlike Uber or Lyft, there’s no mileage fee for Lime scooters.
It doesn’t matter if you travel 5 miles or .5 miles, the only thing that matters is how long it takes.
And since your scooter won’t run much more than one hour at a time, you’re not ever going to be looking at a huge bill.
How Much do Lime Scooters Cost?
Some websites list Lime’s pricing as $.15 per minute, but this is not universal and makes one wonder where that figure came from.
Lime’s website goes out of its way not to give a specific, by-the-minute figure because it varies from city to city.
While there is no surge pricing, the per-minute rate varies from market to market, making calculating an average cost difficult.
Add to that the fact that many scooter riders spend significantly less time on a scooter in colder weather, so any average cost we could calculate would be wildly disparate between August and February.
However, if you use a Lime Scooter to get to and from work every day, the weather won’t appreciably affect your time on the device, so it would be easier to glean an average from users like that.
While the $.15-per-minute rate gets a lot of attention, looking closely at markets across the country reveals that an average is a bit higher than that.
- New York City: $.30 per minute
- Chicago: $.39 per minute, though there are some areas where it’s $.19 per minute
- Denver: $.15 per minute
- San Francisco: $.29 per minute
- Santa Monica: $.23
- New Orleans: $.15 per minute
Here are some hypothetical examples of how much a Lime will cost you:
- 5 Minutes: $0.75 + $1.00 start fee = $1.75 total
- 10 Minutes: $1.50 + $1.00 start fee = $2.50 total
- 15 Minutes: $2.25 + $1.00 start fee = $3.25 total
- 30 Minutes: $4.50 + $1.00 start fee = $5.50 total
- 1 Hour: $9.00 + $1.00 start fee = $10 total
Alternative Lime Scooter Price Option
There’s the most-used per-minute option, but there are other options, as well.
Lime recently unveiled Lime Prime, a subscription plan costing $5.99 per month.
Subscribers pay no unlock fees, so if you ride a Lime Scooter more than six times a month, this is a terrific deal for you.
The per-minute rate remains unchanged (and specific to the city in which you live), but Lime maintains that a daily scooter user could save more than $20 per month on the plan.
Lime Prime also allows riders to reserve a scooter and have it on hold for up to 30 minutes.
If you find yourself downtown on a Friday night, you may have more trouble finding a scooter than on a Tuesday afternoon, so this can come in handy.
Another feature Lime has trotted out sparingly and may do more of in the future is the Lime Day Pass.
For a one-time fee of $14.99, Lime Day Pass riders get unlimited rides, each up to 30 minutes long, for 24 hours.
Finally, an unlimited monthly pass is a thing, though this pricing is difficult to pin down.
This pass includes free and unlimited unlocks, reservations, and rides that last a maximum of 45 minutes.
Other Lime Scooter Fees
The standard rental fees are the most obvious fees, but Lime does reserve the right to charge you additional fees as outlined in their User Agreement.
The most significant fine comes from vandalism or damaging the product.
If Lime determines that you damaged one of their scooters, you can be held responsible for up to “$1,500 for each Lime-S, in Lime’s sole and absolute discretion.”
The fine is very similar if you lose a scooter or if you steal one.
Here’s what Lime says about lost of stolen scooters:
“You may be charged up to […] $1,500 for each Lime-S, and a police report may be filed against You. We may also charge a service fee of $25, in Our sole discretion, for rentals in excess of 24 hours where the Product is not considered lost or stolen.”
Another fee that Lime can charge is the “Pick-Up” fee, which can be up to $120. The Pick-Up fee is charged to a Lime user if they park the scooter in a restricted area.
For instance, if you take the scooter into your home or garage and lock it there, you will be charged the fee. Or if you lock the scooter behind a fence or on private property.
The reason behind the fee is because the scooters are meant for sharing.
If someone makes it impossible for others to find the scooter, it ruins the system for everyone.
Lime also has a separate fee if you “Park or place any Product in a manner that prevents Lime from accessing it.
If you violate this Section, Lime may charge you up to $450.”
These two fees seem very similar to us, so we’re not 100% sure if you would be charged both fees at the same time.
It’s better to be safe than sorry and make sure you park any scooters correctly in public areas.
The next fine outlined by Lime in their User Agreement is implemented if you ride a scooter in a restricted area.
Many cities have restricted areas, like pedestrian malls, where the scooters aren’t allowed. If Lime finds out you broke this rule, you could be assessed a fine.
As the agreement states: “Lime reserves the right to charge You up to $50, in Lime’s sole and absolute discretion, if You use any of the Products in any restricted areas.
Lime Scooter Price vs Competition
It’s only fair to look at some other services to get some idea of where Lime falls in the value continuum.
So, let’s take a look at Lime when compared with other micro-mobility solutions and even ride services.
Is Lime Cheaper Than Bird?
In New York City, yes, the Lime Scooter price is cheaper than the cost of Bird Scooters.
Both charge a $1 unlock fee. After that, Lime’s per-minute rate is $.30, while Bird’s rate is $.39 cents per minute.
For a night out on the town once in a while, that’s not that big a deal.
If you commute daily on a rented scooter, that savings will add up.
Is Lime Cheaper Than Lyft Scooters?
In general, no, but depending on your market, it can be.
Lyft’s per-minute rates range from $.15 to $.29, while Lime’s rates also start at $.15 but go to $.39.
Is Lime Cheaper Than Spin?
In Chicago, both Spin Scooters and Lime services charge $.39 per minute.
In other markets, both services either cost the same as the other or are only slightly (one or two cents) higher or lower.
Specific to Chicago, while Spin occasionally waives its $1 unlock fee, Lime rates are discounted 50% on Chicago’s South and West sides.
Lime Price Vs. Uber Ride
This is tricky because Uber has surge pricing, so the cost for a ride from point A to point B at 11:00 am on a Wednesday morning will be violently different from the same ride at 11:00 pm on a Friday night.
However, I know from personal experience that riding from the Guthrie Green in downtown Tulsa, Okla to Elote Cafe & Catering on a Lime Scooter cost me $5.70 on a Thursday evening.
Uber’s price estimator tells me the same journey in an Uber car would be more than $16, and that estimate is not during any kind of surge period.
If it were snowing outside, maybe I’d call an Uber; maybe not.
Price Increases for Lime Scooters
All Lime Scooters cost the same—$1 unlock fee and $.15 per minute at their initial launch.
That has changed at different rates in different places, as revealed by our prices listed above.
In 2019, many Lime markets changed from $.15 per minute to $.25 per minute.
While that’s only ten pennies, it’s also a 66% increase, and that’s quite a big jump.
Still, we can’t fault Lime for raising prices since we live in a capitalist society, and supply and demand are genuine market forces.
A glass-half-full view says the price increases indicate the company’s success, which means more scooters here and there for us to use at our convenience.
It’s all in the perception, right?
Are Lime Scooters Worth the Cost?
At the risk of seeming non-committal, it depends, and it depends on many, many things.
If you live in a place where you’re still paying less than a quarter per minute, public transportation is laughable at best, and you have a commuting distance not longer than a Lime Scooter’s range, then sure, it’s probably worth it.
But if you’re going to pay more than $5 for a Lime Scooter every day, a bus pass is cheaper, to be sure.
Then again, if the bus system in your city is a who’s who of the criminally insane or stops aren’t conveniently located for you, maybe $5 a day is a better fit for you.
If you’re just zipping around town having a good time, then the answer is much clearer: Lime Scooters are absolutely worth the cost.
When I’ve used one, it’s never been out of necessity.
It’s been because there’s one here, and I’d rather ride one than walk. And have fun going from here to there.
The value of the Lime Scooter will be different for everyone, so you’ll need to take your surroundings and situation under consideration when making your decision.
Alternative: Lease a Lime Scooter of Your Own
In some people’s minds, leasing a Lime Scooter would be a great way to save money on rides.
Can I Buy a Lime Scooter?
Lime doesn’t appear to sell their scooters, a la rental car companies selling some of their older vehicles.
However, electric scooters are out there for purchase.
If you really need your scooter to say “Lime” on it, you can probably find someone to paint it on there for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
While it is unlikely that everyone’s questions were not answered above, and equally unlikely we could cover absolutely everything below, here are a few of the more common queries.
Is It Safe to Ride a Lime Scooter?
Safe as walking? No.
Safe as driving in a car? More or less the same.
Without a helmet and in heavy traffic? Not really.
But specifically, scooters were responsible for about 50,000 emergency room visits between 2017 and 2019.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports marked increases in ER visits in 2018 over 2017 and 2019 over 2018.
This reliably follows with the proliferation of scooters over that same period.
However, just like cars and motorcycles can be safer when operated by an experienced, alert driver, Lime Scooters are not inherently dangerous.
While data are difficult to come by, anecdotal evidence would suggest that many of those scooter-related ER visits may have also listed higher blood-alcohol levels in those patients’ charts.
Lime Scooters are prohibited on sidewalks in some locations, and even if they aren’t, if there is an available bike lane, Lime riders should use them to avoid pedestrians.
What Is Faster, a Bird or Lime?
Both scooters top out at about 15 mph, although riding one downhill can get you going a little faster.
The only real difference in speed is in the unlocking process.
Unlocking a Lime Scooter takes mere seconds (meaning less than ten), while some Bird scooters need more than 30 seconds to unlock.
Is There an Age Limit for Riders?
Yes. Riders must be at least 16 years of age
Lime Scooters are quick, convenient, fun, and affordable.
Depending on your use of them, they can be safe or relatively risky.
Also, depending on how you use them and where you live, Lime Scooters can provide economical transportation alternatives to owning a car, taking public transportation, or using a rideshare service.
There are no surge pricing periods, although the rates vary from city to city.
However, once you know the rate in the Lime market where you live, that’s the rate any time of the day or night.
Alternatives include a Lime Prime subscription and day pass options, as well.
Getting started with Lime can begin with a visit to the Lime website, where you can download the smartphone app, or you can download the app yourself, find a scooter, and get your scoot on.
You’ll be glad you did.