Lime launched more than 20 electric scooters as part of a pilot program in Ballantyne this week, expanding its popular scooter service beyond the central city for the first time.
Although Lime, Bird and Spin scooters are common in uptown and South End, this is the first time electric scooters will be available in Ballantyne, according to the companies.
The scooters will be available for 90 days, then the pilot could become a full program depending on how often the scooters have been used, Christina Thigpen, vice president of marketing and communications for Northwood Office, a subsidiary of Ballantyne Corporate Park’s owner, said in a statement.
The scooters are allowed — on sidewalks only — around Ballantyne Corporate Park, including on Ballantyne Commons Parkway and Ballantyne Corporate Place. The Golf Club at Ballantyne is off limits.
People can ride the Lime scooters for an initial charge of $1 and then 33 cents per minute.
Helping sustainability, connectivity
The electric scooters will help with sustainability by allowing people to travel around Ballantyne without a car, Thigpen said in her statement.
“We’re continuing to focus on convenience, walkability and more amenities that contribute to a better quality of life,” Thigpen said.
Russell Murphy, a spokesman for Lime, said the pilot program will connect Ballantyne’s restaurants, shops and offices by giving people another way to travel.
What about Bird and Spin?
Lime’s program in Ballantyne could open the door for the other two scooter companies in Charlotte, Bird and Spin, to expand there.
Natalie Sawyer, a spokeswoman for Bird, said the company hopes Charlotte’s suburbs will embrace scooters as a transportation option.
“We have been having productive conversations with local leaders, and look forward to continuing to work with the city to build a framework that supports affordable and accessible transportation options,” Bird said in a statement.
Maria Buczkowski, a spokeswoman for Spin, said it has no plans for expansion.
Lime’s pilot program in Ballantyne comes at a time when electric scooters are coming under closer scrutiny by the Charlotte City Council.
Last week the Charlotte Observer reported that nearly three dozen people had been injured by electric scooters in Charlotte and Raleigh since early last year. Sixteen of the injuries were in Charlotte.
The city council approved new rules in January that capped scooter speeds at 15 mph, allowed scooter companies to add more than 400 scooters based on ridership numbers and banned the scooters from sidewalk use in a central part of the city.
This article originally appeared in The Charlotte Observer.