Lime's new platform lets you rent other companies' e-scooters

Wheels is the first partner in Lime's grander plan.

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Wheels electric scooter in partnership with the Lime app.

Lime’s bid to become a one-stop shop for transportation now includes the option of renting vehicles from other companies. The company is launching a micromobility platform that promises more choices for rides, starting with Wheels. You can hire the new partner’s “unique” e-scooter (above) from inside the Lime app. Effectively, it’s a complement to Lime’s more conventional two-wheelers.

You can still use the Wheels app.

The platform will be ready this winter, when you’ll find Wheels rides initially available in Austin, Berlin, Miami and Seattle.

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The move could help Lime corner short-range transportation by making it the go-to company for anyone who wants to offer bikes and scooters for rent. It’s not clear how that might help competition. A platform like this could give smaller outfits a chance to grow quickly, but might also reduce the diversity of apps and services.

It may be helpful for travellers, though. Those fewer apps could make it easier to find a ride, and you might have a better sense of your available choices in a given area. Of course, this also presumes rivals don’t follow suit — it may get confusing if you have to guess which app controls the scooter you want to use.

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Lime's new platform lets you rent other companies' e-scooters