Shared electric micromobility company Lime announced a partnership to integrate its electric scooters, bikes and mopeds into the Moovit trip planning app. As of August 2, Lime’s vehicles will be included as a travel option in tandem with public transit for either all or part of a multimodal journey on the Israeli app.
Nearby Lime vehicles will show up in Moovit in 117 cities across 20 countries and continents, including the United States, South America, Australia and Europe. Lime says this partnership is the largest micromobility integration within an app fully dedicated to mobility as a service (MaaS) to date based on the number of cities involved. It plans to add 40 other cities in the following months.
The partnership between Lime and Moovit, which is a subsidiary of Intel’s Mobileye, follows a trend in the transportation world that integrates public transit, ridesharing and micromobility into one optimized system. Uber, one of Lime’s lead investors, delivered a whitepaper this year laying out its plans to facilitate such a centralization of mobility modes. Some public transit agencies, like St. Louis Metro Transit, that have experienced a decline in ridership hope directing users to third-party apps that lay out different forms of mobility would eventually bring it back. Others might just see joining forces as a way to get commuters out of cars, giving them seamless options for traveling that last mile from home to the train station without contributing to carbon emissions.
“This partnership signifies that mobility companies recognize the need to collaborate together to offer riders more convenient modes of public and shared transportation as they return,” Nir Erez, Moovit co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Offering more alternative options that can easily get people to their destinations is a critical component of a MaaS platform, especially in some of the most congested cities in the world.”
Lime is touching on a moment with cities, no doubt in a way that will lead to more permit awards for the micromobility giant. The pandemic has caused many cities to embrace micromobility and draft recovery plans that highlight sustainable mobility.
“Moovit captures a market specifically focused on planning commutes and local travel, and helping users access micromobility as part of those journeys will hopefully reduce car travel and further encourage people to take public transit again,” Tiffani Gibson, senior manager of Lime’s corporate communications, told TechCrunch. “We want cities to view us as a sustainable partner that works in tandem with the broader transit ecosystem. We provide an additive service that eases and encourages connections to transit, especially in traditionally underserved areas. We want riders to return to transit in conjunction with our service and are looking to replace car trips, not transit trips.”
According to Moovit’s COVID-19 mobility report, public transit is back on the rise in big cities like New York, Paris and London, which is probably why Lime wants to tap into the market now. Last month, 41% of Lime’s scooter rides were taken during peak commuting hours, according to data from the company, which also says historical data has shown a significant amount of Lime rides connecting riders with public transit.
Lime’s bikes and scooters, but not mopeds, are also integrated with Google Maps, one of the most downloaded MaaS apps in the world, in 89 cities. On Google Maps, users can choose to route their destination via car, public transit, walking or bike. Bikers are offered Lime’s vehicles as a transport option for the whole journey, whereas with Moovit, the point is to feature Lime vehicles for first- or last-mile solutions to mass transit.
With both Google Maps and Moovit, users can see in real-time where a Lime vehicle is nearby, how long it’ll take to walk there, an estimated trip cost and remaining battery percentage. To unlock the journey, users will be redirected to the Lime app after clicking on the logo.
Lime’s bikes and scooters are also integrated into the Uber app in over 100 cities, and all of Lime’s vehicles are integrated into the CityMapper app in 84 markets, according to Gibson. Bird, Lime’s biggest competitor, has also done some form of integration, but not with public transit. The company recently launched a bikeshare platform wherein the vehicles of small local bikeshare operators will show up and can be booked through Bird’s app.
Lime incorrectly stated in its announcement that it will launch in South Africa. The company is actually launching in South America. The company also stated it would launch “next week” but has since given TechCrunch an exact date of August 2. Lime has also updated TechCrunch with the number of cities it is integrated with Google Maps.