Lime: Dockless Bike Share is More Popular with Women, Lower-Income and Non-White Riders

There will be more of this on Staten Island. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
There will be more of this on Staten Island. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

SB Donation NYC header 2Lime is ramping up its effort to gain a larger foothold in New York this week, putting out a report on Tuesday claiming its dockless bike share is more popular with woman, lower-income and non-white riders in the two city neighborhoods where it is currently operating.

The company says it has served 19,000 riders, taking 85,000 rides on regular and pedal-assist e-bikes, in the Rockaways and Staten Island since July — and 40 percent identify as female, compared to about 25 percent of Citi Bike riders, according to a Rudin Center study and another analysis of Citi Bike data.

In a survey, about 70 percent of Lime riders identified as non-white, the company said. Sixty-one percent of earn $50,000 a year or less.

“Lime has become a go-to transportation option for Rockaways and Staten Island residents and visitors,” said the company’s New York General Manager Gil Kazimirov,

The survey of hundreds of city Lime riders showed that 32 percent of riders were white and 31 percent were African-American, even though Staten Island’s Lime zone is roughly 38 percent white and 22.1 percent African-America.

Sixty one percent of city Lime users reported household incomes of less than $50,000 per year, far below the median income in the Staten Island Lime zone of $72,066 per year and also below the$52,157 median income in the Rockaways. Citi Bike does not offer bike share in either neighborhood, but one study said that Citi Bike is more popular with the affluent and with whites — though many factors appear to be in play, including the need for memberships and the placement of Citi Bike docks. Lime bikes can be unlocked for single use with an app.

Kazimirov said the results showed that Lime must be allowed to expand into areas where Citi Bike, which is going to double its footprint over the next five years, is not operating.

“Lime bikes and scooters are the right fit for New Yorkers because they’re affordable, reliable, and convenient,” he said. “Our mobility fleet is ready to take the next step and expand access to new transportation options and improve transit equity.”

If so, someone better tell the cops. It is well-known that precincts in communities of color write far more “cycling on the sidewalk” tickets than other neighborhoods — numbers that tend to drop as protected bike lanes are installed (see chart below from a 2015 report).

An NYU analysis found that precincts with high minority populations tend to write more cycling tickets. Photo: NYU
An NYU analysis found that precincts with high minority populations tend to write more cycling tickets. Photo: NYU
  • ortcutt

    I don’t see how this is docked vs. dockless rather than (1) where the bikes operate (2) how people pay for using it. Both Lime and Citibike offer pay-per-use and membership payment models, but Lime promotes the low $1 unlock fee and Citibike really doesn’t. Citibike’s best deal by far is the annual membership, but that’s not something that someone who is poor is likely to buy if they aren’t already frequent users.

  • crazytrainmatt

    So lime demographics resemble those of its own service area more than the central citibike area.

    Having used lime a few times elsewhere, their bikes are much lower quality than citibike and the lack of docks is inconvenient compared to the high density of citibike docks in manhattan. For low-density america, this may be the best they can get but NYC has enough ridership potential to support a unified docked bike share system everywhere within a mile of a train station.

  • AstoriaBlowin

    I would say that the lack of docks is what is inconvenient about Citibike. The placement even in mid-town is too infrequent, look around Bryant Park, Penn Station, east of Lexington near Grand Central. There’s far too much distance between docks. You can easily add 10 minutes of walking to your trip to get to a dock with available bikes. And once you get out of Manhattan it’s so much worse, there’s barely any coverage where I live in Queens.

  • The $1 cost is a lot more reasonable than Citibike’s $3.26 cost for a single use. However, its unlikely to remain that way the in the long term. When their competitors left Seattle, they doubled their prices

  • Asher Of LA

    False. It costs $0.80 for a 15 minute ride on a Lime pedal bike in Seattle. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7a10bb2da2c6992786d48a07e200f5964da6f147e7bbd2414dc0c22745a163cf.jpg

  • Altered Beast ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    so lime bikes is the number 1 choice in an area that only has lime bikes and no citybike docks? wow.

  • and No comparaison to the census profile of the areas of reference …

  • We’re talking about NYC and NYC prices here

  • Asher Of LA

    “Seattle” – Jass

  • Ishamgirl

    I’m totally confused by this.

    “The survey of hundreds of city Lime riders showed that 32 percent of riders were white and 31 percent were African-American”.

    I’m not good at math (and maybe even reading comprehension) but isn’t 32% more than 31% therefore there would be in fact more white Lime riders than black Lime riders?

    And the chart above where summonses were handed out-if the tables were turned, would anyone care? Seems anything that happens to non-whites is always racist.

  • Asher Of LA

    It’s out of date. I checked their app when I posted.

  • I guess their price hike didnt work as planned!

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