Toledoans can embrace alternative forms of transportation with Lime electric scooters and ToleGO, a bike share program that launched last month. These opportunities enhance the city’s efforts to go green while providing affordable and convenient ways to get around.
Visitors to the University of Toledo will inevitably notice the presence of Lime electric scooters around campus. Since the scooters were launched at the beginning of the fall semester, their popularity has been steadily growing, leading to a likely expansion of scooter availability in other parts of the city.
At $1.15 per minute, Lime scooters are an affordable, convenient choice for students to zip across campus to class as well as ride them all over the city. To make this scooter share sustainable, a group of mechanics, people to charge the scooters, and a base of operations make sure it all runs smoothly. That’s where operation specialists like Chris Sackmann come in.
“I’ve had my hands full as we develop the shop,” he said. “We have 65 to 70 scooters that are currently broken down in the warehouse.” For several weeks, he was the only person in Toledo responsible for maintaining the 125 scooters, though the company has recently hired two more people to assist with repairs. As more people are hired to keep the scooters operational, they are likely to become even more popular across the city.
To keep the scooters charged, people can use the Lime app to become a “juicer” (someone who picks up scooters and charges them as needed). According to Sackmann, “it’s a great way to make money. The company pays you between $5 and $15 per scooter to keep them going.”
If you are a true Lime enthusiast, you can use the scooters as transportation and become a juicer to offset the already reasonable cost for the rides.
For those who have been following the emerging popularity of electric scooter sharing in the past year, it is worth mentioning that some people are not fans. Pedestrians don’t like them being ridden on the sidewalk, and drivers are not always respectful of riders in the street.
“There’s a surprising amount of backlash to these things,” Sackmann said. There are people who kick them over and vandalize them, though he hasn’t found that reaction in Toledo. The overall response worldwide has been to embrace the expansion of an environmentally responsible and affordable means of transportation.
“These scooters are appearing all over the world,” Sackmann said. “We’ve opened up offices in Zurich, Canada, China, and about 75 cities in the United States.”
The goal for Toledo is to have 250 active scooters in operation, and to set up in downtown. Sackmann said it takes time to increase these numbers in a new market, but the response from students and other riders makes him hopeful.
“We want to have a smooth implementation and Toledo will hopefully really appreciate having these scooters come in,” he said. “The first time you get on one, you’re going to realize how fun it is, how fast it is to get from point A to point B, and how much better it is for the environment.”
ToleGO Bike Share
UT created a bike share called Rocket Wheels in 2015 for students, faculty, and staff to bike around campus for free, but up until now there has been no public bike share for everyone in the city to access. Enter ToleGO Bike Share which launched in mid-October with a strong endorsement by Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz. In a City of Toledo press release, the Mayor claimed “it places us alongside some of the more progressive communities in the nation.”
To use the bikes, download an app (Social Bicycles), then create an account. There are hubs for ToleGO bikes that are mostly concentrated downtown, and you can find the ones nearest you by using the map on the app. Once you find a bike, simply unlock it by entering your account number and pin.
ToleGO offers subscriptions–the annual fee is $69 per year and the monthly fee is $15–or you can choose to pay as you go at $3 per 30-minute ride. Like Lime’s scooters, the bike share is affordable. Unlike Lime, riders must leave the bikes at designated docking stations.
With both environmentally friendly companies gaining momentum in Toledo, having multiple options to suit your lifestyle is always a good thing.