Wave goodbye to Lime's monopoly

Wave e-scooters. Photo: Supplied.via NZME.
Wave e-scooters. Photo: Supplied.via NZME.
After five months enjoying Auckland streets to itself, Lime e-scooters have a rival.

Wave officially joined the city's e-scooter trial today with a powhiri at Te Puea Memorial Marae in Māngere.

It will cost $1 upfront, then 30 cents a minute, to ride a Wave, founder and managing director Albert Hoeft told the Herald.

That matches Lime's pricing.

Wave recently secured a permit with Auckland Council to operate 1000 scooters (the same number as Lime) in Auckland city central and outer suburbs, and initially put 500 scooters on the city's streets.

There are now three trial e-scooter operators licensed for Auckland: the San Francisco-based multinational Lime, which enjoys hundreds of millions in backing from key investors Uber and Google; the Brisbane-based Wave - which bills itself as Australia's first scooter-sharing startup and lists 10 employees on its LinkedIn page - and local contender Onzo, which is yet to say if or when it will put scooters on streets to complement its bikes.

Hoeft had no immediate comment on any plans to expand beyond Auckland.

The Auckland trial was initially due to wrap up on January 10 but was extended until March 31.

At the end of the trial, the council and Auckland Transport will discuss whether any operator should be granted a permanent mobile trading license - and if so with what conditions.

Conditions such as a speed limit in some or all areas, compulsory helmets or moving e-scooters from footpaths (where they're currently legal) to cycleways (where they're currently not) will require law changes at the national level. Twyford has indicated he's open to tweaks.

On March 8, ACC said it had received 1486 electric scooter claims, costing it $739,184.

Councillor Chris Darby, who heads Auckland Council's planning committee, has raised the idea of a per-ride levy for e-scooters, which could run to 5 cents.

In an exclusive interview with the Herald, Lime co-founder and chief executive Toby Sun said he was open to the e-scooter tax - as long as it was earmarked for new and upgraded cycleways. He was also open to some of the levy going to ACC.

Lime e-scooters were recently pulled from Auckland and Zurich streets, and to a wave of bad publicity in the US, after being hit by a braking issue that caused 31 injuries locally.

After a week's absence, Limes returned to Auckland on March 1, with a new requirement to report safety issues within 48 hours.

 

Comments

Surely the first change in any operator agreement is addition of a charge to cover ACC costs.
Lime being your typical multinational business, care about nothing other than their profit margin. New Zealand taxpayers should not be paying for the harm this companies products are causing. Even if they manage to fix their dodgy brake problems.

Keith , Rugby costs this country a fortune in ACC each year... do Rugby clubs pay ACC?. Sporting injuries cost this country more than road injury's in 2016.

 

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