Government & Politics

Dockless scooter company halts KC operations, plans to return this spring

Lime has temporarily taken its bright green dockless scooters out of service in Kansas City.

The company is standing down “to take stock of what worked, ride out the bitterly cold December and January weather [and] get prepped up for a re-launch this spring,” Sam Sadle, Lime’s director of government relations and strategic development, told city officials in an email Monday evening.

He also said the company still intends to respond to the city’s request for proposals to participate in a pilot program to study shared transportation.

Sadle did not specify a date for Lime’s return to the city. Nor did the company’s email mention its recent decision to recall one of its scooter models because of reports they can break while in use.

The company’s competitor, Bird, continues to operate in the city.

The two firms and rolled into town earlier this year with the Uber-style, app-based dockless scooters that now dot sidewalks and streets throughout the city. Officials struck interim operating agreements that allow each company to have up to 500 scooters deployed.

Kansas City wants companies like Lime and Bird to apply between now and mid-February for a pilot program to study shared transportation, including dockless scooters. The pilot is intended to help the city determine whether it needs to change its regulations to accommodate such transportation, where it should place new bike lanes and how the scooter companies should operate.

Councilman Jermaine Reed, who represents the 3rd District and chairs the council’s transportation committee, said the hiatus will give Lime a chance to retool.

“They’re very much still interested in operating in Kansas City, and we as a city certainly are open to having them as well and welcome all types of multimodal transportation options in our city,” Reed said.