Lime E-Scooters Are In Sofia. Here’s How They Work

Lime E-Scooters In Sofia © Lime
© Lime

After we’ve heard enough rumors about Lime launching in Sofia, here they are with a modest fleet of 150 e-scooters. Two years after the micro-mobility became a global trend, and users in Bulgaria have already started buying their own vehicles, one of the largest providers arrives to test the market here. We summarized what you need to know about the new service. 

How to rent a Lime e-scooter?

With an app that is available for iPhone and Android. The scooters, which are currently available are displayed on a map. When standing in front of the desired scooter, scan with the QR code on the handlebars with the app. This connects it to your profile and unlocks the scooter.  

The app is currently in English.  And shows that the e-scooters are mostly available in the center of the city.

How much does it cost?

Lime requires a fixed fee of 1.5 BGN and then 0.30 BGN per minute. An hour with a Lime costs around 20 BGN. Users already started outlining, the price is high for the standard of living in Sofia. As a comparison, a minute with Spark e-car shared service costs between 0.29 BGN and 0.39 BGN.

In order to drive Lime, you have to first charge your in-app wallet with $5, $10 or $20. From this credit then the travel costs are deducted regularly. When you buy the balance you get additional bonuses, the more credits you buy at once.

+++ While waiting for Lime & Co users in Bulgaria started buying their own e-scooters. Here’s how to choose one +++

How many Lime e-scooters are there in Sofia?

Lime launches with 150 scooters in August and promises to extend the fleet based on the usage. In a previous interview with the Sofia municipality, we found out the limit, at least for now, is 300 e-scooter per provider. 

How does the е-scooter work?

Quite easy. To accelerate, you have to get the vehicle rolling once with your foot, only then you can use the button on the right handlebar to accelerate. There is also a brake on the handlebars, and there are lights in the back and the front to make it easier for other road users to see them in the dark. You can only ride alone on a scooter.

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What model is available?

Lime starts with only one model Lime S 2.5.

What is the maximum range of an e-scooter?

When the battery is full, the range of lime scooters is a maximum of 40 km. Realistically, the ranges could be shorter depending on the paths and whether conditions.

How fast do electric scooters go?

Maximum 20 km / h.

What to consider when driving? Driver’s license? Helmet?

You don’t need a helmet or drivers license for use. However, it is recommended to wear a helmet for your own safety, and one needs to be over 18 years old to register and use the service.

Where to ride an e-scooter?

The scooters are approved after coordination with the city of Sofia to ride on bike lanes. They fall under the rules for bicycles, so you can not drive on the sidewalk with them.

When to rent an e-scooter?

Anytime, tells us the press-office. This is different than some other cities, where Lime could be rented only between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. and at night, the scooters are cleared off the streets, charged and again placed on the streets in the morning. 

How and where to park the e-scooter?

The marking of 200+ parking spaces for e-scooters, bicycles, mopeds downtown Sofia has started in mid-August. In the first phase, 158 spots will in the Blue and Green (paid parking) zones be transformed. In fall, additional 70 will be set up on sidewalks, parks and other public spaces.  

© Green Sofia
© Green Sofia

The blue zones that appear on the in-app map are preferred parking spaces and function as a parking guide for Lime Riders. There are also red zones that appear on the map – parking there will either be fined or the rider won’t be able to park and lock the scooter, so it will continue charging the wallet. 

To lock the Lime scooter, one needs to park it and press “End Ride” on the app. 

How and where are the batteries charged?

If you are on Facebook, you probably already know what a “juicer” is, as the special media space is flooded by ads in the past several days. The juicers are the people who can sign up to charge the e-scooters. They are paid as freelancers whenever they collect the scooters, recharge them overnight and bring them back on predefined locations in the morning.  

What data does the app collect?

By using Lime, you agree that the company collects a wealth of data. These include GPS routes, access time, date of access, software crash reports, session ID, access times, or IP addresses of the smartphone. These data can be used by Lime for various purposes – they can also be shared with sponsors and other business partners.

How does the provider deal with theft and vandalism?

To prevent vandalism, the e-scooters are collected every day. In addition, they are equipped with GPS modules to locate them in case of theft.

Are there fees or penalties?

Lime reserves the right to charge users for any damage caused. For example, if you turn off the scooter in a no-parking zone marked red on the map in the app, you pay a penalty.

Where else is Lime available?

The scooters are already available in dozens of US cities via app. In Europe, Lime is also on the roads in Athens, Thessaloniki, Bucharest, Berlin, Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich, Vienna, and Madrid.  In some cities, Lime also offers bicycles.

Who is behind the company?

The company behind Lime is actually called Neutron Holdings and is headquartered in San Mateo, California. It not only operates e-scooter sharing at several locations but also leases electric bikes.  It was founded by Adam Zhang, Brad Bao and Toby Sun in 2017.

Behind the startup are prominent investors such as the Google owner Alphabet, Atomico, Fidelity Management, Research Company, Uber, Andreessen Horowitz and the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Singapore, etc. Lime or Neutron Holdings is valued at around one billion dollars. 


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