Lime scooters and bikes are parked on March 27 in downtown South Bend.
Tribune Photo/CHARLIE ORTEGA
Lime scooters and bikes are parked on March 27 in downtown South Bend. Tribune Photo/CHARLIE ORTEGA
SOUTH BEND — Although Lime’s spring electric scooter pilot project had been scheduled to end May 19, the scooters could remain another two months while the city looks for another vendor that would offer both scooters and bikes, a city official said Thursday.

Meanwhile, as Lime soon begins removing its bikes from South Bend, the company has agreed, at the city’s request, to donate 100 of the bikes to the city, said Jitin Kain, deputy public works director.

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Board of Public Works will consider an agreement to let Lime keep its scooters in the city until Aug. 1.

“They were interested in extending it and it works out for us because there wouldn’t be a gap in service while we search for a new vendor,” Kain said.

Lime is phasing out bikes and going exclusively with e-scooters in its markets throughout the country. As a result, the city early next week plans to send a “request for information” to rideshare companies that are willing to offer both bikes and scooters. The companies will include the Uber-owned JUMP, San Francisco-based Spin, and Charleston, S.C.-based gotcha, Kain said.

Kain’s staff, along with the city’s legal department, are working on an ordinance that would spell out safety regulations for e-scooters, such as prohibiting them from sidewalks and requiring users to wear helmets. The ordinance also would set fees that the shared mobility vendor would pay, money that would offset police costs for enforcement, along with infrastructure, public education and possibly “equity considerations,” meaning ways to make the scooters and bikes available to people who are poor or lack smartphones needed to enable the devices, Kain said.
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