A group of people use their phones to connect with both Lime and Bird scooters in front of the Rand Building.
A group of people use their phones to connect with both Lime and Bird scooters in front of the Rand Building. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

One month after Bird brought hundreds of electric scooters to downtown San Antonio, a competing company has entered the mix.

California-based Lime, formerly known as LimeBike, on Friday released its e-scooters onto San Antonio streets.

Meanwhile, the dockless vehicles remain unregulated in the city. Councilman Rey Saldaña (D4) has said City Council’s Transportation Committee will initiate the process of creating a policy framework at an August meeting.

E-scooters have been unleashed into larger cities throughout the country, their purveyors touting them as a last-mile solution as gridlock chokes many metropolitan areas.

Their opponents see them as a nuisance. Dockless parking means some scooters have ended up in public rights-of-way such as ramps for wheelchair users. Safety – the scooters can go as fast as 15 mph and few riders wear helmets – and improper use on sidewalks are also chief among their concerns.

Lime held a meet-and-greet event at Halcyon in Southtown Wednesday to sign people up to become scooter chargers. Chargers are compensated for rounding up the e-scooters at night to charge them and then release them the next morning in high-use areas.

Daniel Alfrido Jr. was among those who lined up to receive four chargers. He also signed up to be a charger for Bird and is awaiting a shipment of chargers in the mail.

Alfrido said he plans to wrangle up anywhere from 10 to 20 scooters a night to earn extra income. The lifelong San Antonio resident said he lives close to Mission San Jose and can drop off the vehicles at various locales downtown before going to his day job in the morning.

“One job’s not enough anymore,” he said. “You have to have like two or three side gigs.”

Lime officials at noon Friday at City Hall gave a demonstration on how to use the scooters.

To activate the scooters, users must download the app and pay a $1 base fee to unlock a vehicle and then 15 cents for every minute of use.

Lime is in 70 markets, including Arlington, Austin, Dallas, and Plano.

The City will hold a public meeting on Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at 600 Soledad St. to garner input on a program to pilot the vehicles that would inform safety guidelines and regulations.

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez is a columnist at the San Antonio Report. A former reporter and editor at the SA Report, he currently works as a project manager for New York City-based Advance Local.