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NORTH AND WEST OF BOSTON

‘E-bikes’ join Lime’s bicycle sharing fleet

Electric pedal-assist bikes have been added to the fleet of Lime bicycles in the region as part of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s dock-free bike-share program.
Electric pedal-assist bikes have been added to the fleet of Lime bicycles in the region as part of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s dock-free bike-share program.Lime

Need some help pedaling up those hills in Greater Boston?

Electric pedal-assist bikes — “e-bikes” — have been added to the fleet of Lime bicycles in the region as part of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s dock-free bike-share program that is now available in nine local communities.

“By rolling out Lime-E, more people can now hop on bike share,” said Scott Mullen, Lime director of expansion for New England, in a press release. “Communities around the Boston region will now have a boosted ability to ride affordable, green transportation options.”

The e-bikes were initially introduced in Malden, Arlington, Watertown, and Newton but are now also available in Bedford, Belmont, Chelsea, Everett, and Winthrop.

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According to the MAPC, six other communities will soon be launching Lime, including pedal-assist e-bikes: Medford, Melrose, Milton, Needham, Revere, and Waltham.

Lime-E electric assist bikes are equipped with locking, swappable battery packs that are monitored and charged remotely. Users can check the battery level on the app and when fully charged, Lime-E has a maximum range of about 50 miles.

The lithium battery helps cyclists ride up to 14.8 miles per hour, even uphill, and is splash proof, meaning it can withstand both rain and snow, according to Lime.

Lime-E costs $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute to ride. For those who meet an income threshold, e-bikes are 50 cents to unlock and 7 cents per minute to ride. Qualifying riders can sign up for the discounted service online.

“Lime’s goal is to offer mobility options for everyone,’’ said Evan Thies, a spokesman for Lime in Boston. “In particular, Lime is proud to offer significant discounts to qualifying riders — helping to connect transit-underserved, lower-income communities to reliable, affordable transportation.’’

Lime started rolling out regular dock-free pedal bikes in Greater Boston in April.

Lime currently operates in more than 70 markets; approximately 10 markets have Lime-E.

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The entire Lime fleet is GPS and 3G wireless-enabled, making it possible for riders to find, unlock, and pick up a nearby bike or scooter using their smartphone. When the ride is finished, cyclists simply end the ride with the Lime mobile app and park by the street curb, or at a bike rack.

The system allows users to pick up and drop off a bicycle nearly anywhere in the participating communities, although some cities and towns may choose to assign designated parking locations.


Jennifer Fenn Lefferts can be reached at jflefferts@yahoo.com.