Following the recent debut of LimeBike on campus, Lime’s Operations Manager of Starkville John Usry proposed an extension of the bike-share program into the city limits.
On Sept. 14, Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill and the Board of Aldermen met in a work session to discuss the agenda items for its upcoming meeting. On the agenda was the possibility for Lime to extend its bike share program into the city limits.
"It’s really just trying to get everybody in the community access to transportation," Usry said. "We’re really investing in the community as a whole, not just certain parts of it."
Since the debut for MSU students, Usry said the number of rides has exceeded Lime’s expectations.
"It’s been less than two weeks, and we’ve got over 2,000 rides already," Usry said. "I’ve been really impressed. I had been thinking it would take us about a month to get here."
Usry proposed about 100 bikes be deployed at 22 locations throughout Starkville, if the city decides to have them.
"The idea of this is connecting the dots between Main Street, Midtown, the Cotton District, campus and Russel Street, as well," Usry said.
Currently, Starkville is the only city to house Lime in the state.
"I think it’s really cool that we are the first ones in Mississippi," Spruill said.
If Lime extends into city limits, students will continue to receive the discounted rate as long as they sign up using their student email address; furthermore, Lime Access would allow low-income citizens of Starkville to pay $5 to get $100 worth of credit for the standard bike.
Lime could introduce the Lime-S, which is an electric scooter, and the Lime-E, which is an electric assist bike. Each of these will have a $1 unlock fee and cost 15 cents per minute; however, those with low income could get this for 50 percent less with Lime Access.
Alderman Jason Walker of Ward 4 believes one of the major issues along the S.M.A.R.T. route is getting people in the community to the bus where there is not adequate pedestrian infrastructure or bike lanes.
"I certainly hope in the near future, if this little test is successful, that we have the opportunity to look at where this might be further down by J.L. King Park and other places to be able to get you to those bus stops for the broader use," Walker said.
Walker also said he sees this as an issue for the city government to consider how they can continue to improve bike infrastructure in the community.
"How can we help make bike share in Starkville successful? I think this is a great step," Walker said.
Along with Alderman Walker, Spruill said she is excited about Lime possibly expanding to the city limits.
"I think it’s great," Spruill said. "I look forward to sharing that opportunity with the university, so the kids feel like it’s one flow from the university into the city and back again."
Lime will partner with the city if its proposal is approved. It will cost the city nothing to allow this mode of transportation to be expanded into city limits.
"It costs us nothing, which I think is really fantastic," Walker said. "As opposed to the other bike shares–which, looking at that in the past, really led it to not being an option for places like Starkville because of the upfront infrastructure."
Walker said he is excited because this will increase mobility opportunities for citizens.
"I think it’s a great opportunity to increase bike ridership in town, and I think it gives the city more incentive to improve bike infrastructure in our community," Walker said.
The Board of Aldermen will vote on the Starkville Lime expansion Sept. 18.