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More electric scooters needed to meet Chicago’s demand, Lime says

A row of green, white, and black lime electric scooters lined up side by side on a sidewalk of rectangular pavers.


The data provides new insight into how Chicagoans are riding

One month into the city’s dockless electric scooter test program, one of the vendors, Lime, has released a report that shows how Chicagoans are riding.

Although Lime is just one of ten companies in the program, the data from 65,124 miles of rides does show that the pilot could be working as intended.

Chicago officials hoped the scooters would serve as a “last-mile” option in areas not easily accessible by transit or the city’s Divvy bike system. Based on Lime’s data, scooters are meeting this need.

Nearly 40 percent of Lime trips either started or ended within one of the two priority zones on the western edge of the pilot area. The area includes West Humboldt Park, Austin, and Hermosa—all neighborhoods where Divvy is lacking or non-existent.

A black three-dimensional map of Chicago’s West Side with yellow bars signifying where scooter trips are originating.
Courtesy Lime
A map showing Lime scooter trip start locations within Chicago’s pilot operating area. Popular spots include the West Loop, Pilsen, the Milwaukee Avenue corridor, as well as neighborhoods in the western priority zones.

Another interesting—although perhaps not entirely surprising—takeaway from the Lime report is that there aren’t enough e-scooters. The company claims the number of people opening the app heavily outpaces the users that actually get onto Lime scooters. This is most likely attributed to low supply, as each vendor is limited to just 250 scooters.

In a graph, Lime compared its operations in Chicago to its fleet in Paris where it was able to expand more quickly. It suggests that ridership has plateaued in Chicago because the number of available scooters doesn’t match the demand.

Two lines graphs showing cumulative users, cumulative trips, and cumulative app openings in Chicago and Paris. The lines for cumulative trips is much closer to the app opens in Paris compared to Chicago.
In Chicago, the number of users opening the app has far exceeded the users taking trips. Rides tracked more closely with demand in Paris where Lime was able to expand its scooter fleet.

Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) oversees the pilot and will decide how the technology might fit into Chicago’s broader mobility plans. Companies are being evaluated on ridership, safety, and public feedback.

Earlier this month, the city issued 14 citations to seven scooter vendors for violating its requirements. Lime, Lyft, and VeoRide have—so far—avoided running afoul of the rules.

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