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Brookline e-scooter program draws at least 30,000 rides in two months, Lime says

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E-scooter operator claims success in a first-of-its-kind test in Massachusetts

Photo courtesy of Lime

San Francisco-based micromobility outfit Lime says that more than 12,000 people have taken over 30,000 rides on its electric battery-powered scooters in Brookline since that town launched a pilot program for the vehicles in early April.

Lime trips in Brookline have averaged about 1 mile, the company said, and riders rent the e-scooters for an average of 10 minutes. What’s more, the company says it’s upped its Brookline fleet to 150 from 100 to keep up with demand.

Lime unveiled the statistics as part of a June 12 public feedback session that Brookline officials organized. E-scooter operator Bird also has vehicles involved in the pilot. Bird said in a statement that, if its part of the Brookline pilot has taught it anything, it’s that users prefer e-scooters in lieu of cars. From the statement, which quoted a survey of Brookline Bird users:

One of the primary takeaways is that 21 percent of Brookline riders said their last Bird ride replaced a trip that would have otherwise been taken by a car or rideshare service. That number is significant given that just three months ago, e-scooters weren’t an option for residents to be able to opt out of the car, and the trip replacement number would have been zero. It’s also a relatively high number because riders are only limited to traveling within the town limits of Brookline, and cannot enter Boston or any of the surrounding areas.

Of Brookline trips on Bird, 27 were for errands or appointments, according to survey respondents, and 26 were for social activities. A further 23 percent said they used the e-scooters to get to school or work.

The pilot program is the only one of its kind in Massachusetts, and the e-scooters can only work in Brookline. E-scooters are currently illegal under a state law that dates from the rise of the moped decades ago.

Earlier attempts to introduce the vehicles in places such as Cambridge and Somerville failed. Since, though, these and other cities—most notably Boston—have taken steps toward approving regulations that would allow e-scooters, and there is movement to legalize them at the state level.

For now, though, a lot of people are looking at what happens in Brookline. Riders there use an app to unlock the dockless vehicles, which are outfitted with GPS and which can reach 15 miles per hour. The pilot runs through November 15. Stay tuned.