The Last Mile problem (not to be confused with the Three-Body Problem, but possibly as hard to solve) is the struggle that transport planners have in getting commuters to use public transport if they have to walk the first or last stretch. Transport infrastructure may be fantastic for the most part, but if a passenger needs to walk for twenty minutes after hopping off their train, they may look to take a car instead.
Bicycles make a lot of sense, as they can chew up the distance from the station to home or the office, but they are mostly cumbersome to have on the train, especially during rush hour. In Melbourne, I’d often get passed by people on skateboards while walking from Flinders Street station to the South Bank. This is not a bad option, as skateboards can be popped onto the back of a backpack and carry pretty well, but they’re not for everyone. The few times in my life that I’ve been on a skateboard I’ve feared for my knees, elbows and life.
So this weekend, my little family tried out the Lime scooters which are being rolled out (pun intended) in Brisbane. These surprisingly tall and heavy electric scooters are found scattered around the CBD, and along the side of the river.
They cost AUD1 to unlock, then AUD0.30 per minute to ride. We had a fun time up and down the river’s edge, dropping a smooth AUD11 for our little half hour adventure. You download the app, locate a nearby scooter and scan its QR code. Then it’s unlocked and you can take it for a ride. The app will show how much distance is left in the scooter’s battery.
It’s hard to say how many scooters are dotted around Brisbane, but the app shows that they are fairly ubiquitous in the CBD. And people are using them. Everywhere you walk people pass you on them. They are quiet, very quick and easily accessible.
One of the problems with bike rentals is finding a drop off point, which can make them inconvenient. When you’re finished with the scooters you just tap out, and leave them on the side of the road. Ready for the next eager scooterer to hop on.
And when they start getting low on juice?
“Our Lime-S electric scooters are monitored remotely by both local staff and an independent team of Lime Juicers. When a scooter is running low on power, our Juicers will pick it up, charge the battery and then redeploy the Lime-S out in the community.” – Lime
Many of the scooters have helmets hanging off of them, but there are many people cruising around without one. My conscientious husband asked a passing policeman if they were mandatory (apparently they are). It was also pointed out that only one person was allowed on at a time. Pictures below reflect compliance…
Our son enjoyed it and I was surprised at the oomph provided by the little motor. A great overall experience.