Lime is rolling out a new monthly subscription service for its electric scooters that’s called — no joke — Lime Prime.
Lime typically charges a fixed rate to unlock a vehicle and then a per-minute fee to ride. For $5.99 a month, the company will waive that initial fee for Lime Prime subscribers. And in markets with no unlock fees, riders will receive 25 percent off the price of their ride. Subscribers will still pay the per-minute charge, but Lime says that someone who uses one of its scooters every day would save approximately $25 a month under the subscription plan.
There are other perks that come with a subscription. Lime Prime members can reserve any scooter or bike for up to 30 minutes at no cost, for example, compared to just 10 minutes for a standard user. And for a limited time, the company is offering the first month of its new plan for free as a promotion to entice new customers.
Subscriptions are fast becoming a way for scooter- and bike-sharing companies to lock in more customers in the hopes of boosting their revenue stream. And this isn’t the first iteration of Lime’s subscription service. In 2019 the company launched Lime Pass, a weekly plan that also eliminated the unlock fee for subscribers. Prices varied for Lime Pass, but San Francisco subscribers, for example, were charged $4.99-a-week.
Lime also isn’t the first scooter company to dabble in subscriptions. Bird has been experimenting with its own plan for its shared electric scooters with mixed results. Scooter manufacturer Unagi has a plan available in several cities in the US. And electric bikes are jumping on the subscription bandwagon, too, with Revel in New York City, Dance in Berlin, and Swapfiets and VanMoof as well.
Subscriptions have been a mixed bag for the auto industry. Ford walked away from its service last fall following low demand. Cadillac shut down its service, Book, in 2018, only to resurrect it several months later with fewer options. And BMW recently discontinued its own subscription service.
Other automakers have had some success. BMW, Porsche, Audi, Volvo, Nissan, and Jaguar are still offering some variation of a subscription service. Even the big car rental companies, Hertz and Enterprise, are getting in on the action. Most of these subscriptions are only available in specific cities and are still in the pilot phase.