Bike-share provider Lime has experienced success throughout a number of European cities, from Paris to Zurich to Berlin.
Prague marks the American start-ups’ seventh European market.
“Lime wants to become an effective alternative to urban mobility and a real solution that will help improve smart mobility and reduce carbon emissions,” the company said in a press release.
Saturday saw Lime symbolically launch a fleet of its dockless electric scooters on the streets of the Czech capital as part of the Car Free Day in Prague during the European Week of Mobility.
The company plans to establish 50-60 hotspots, outside of the restricted zone in Prague 1, in the busier parts of the Czech capital from September 26; its focus is mainly metro stations where bus or tram connections run infrequently.
Users must first download an app to unlock a scooter and can then pay via a card linked to a Lime account.
For each Lime rental, users pay 25 CZK plus a fee of 2 CZK per minute. A map displays scooter locations and possible destinations. The speed of scooters is limited to 25 km/h — users are provided with a free helmet.
Will the new means of transport offer a viable mobility alternative for traffic-choked Prague?
In cities such as Berlin, which has seen an influx of similar services in recent years, critics say that Lime and its counterparts are clogging up street corners and pedestrian zones, while in other German cities such as Munich, there have been multiple reports of rental bikes being destroyed by vandals and discarded.
Lime hopes to spread its vehicles and its message to other Czech cities.
“We are ready to discuss with other Czech cities that are close to sustainability. We have the ambition to help all Eastern European countries in their efforts to reduce air pollution, unemployment and improve urban mobility,” says George Moreton, Director of Lime.
The company is also hiring chargers, people to collect and charge the scooters in the evening and return them to their racks in the morning.
Though Lime has only been in operation for a year it has seen rapid expansion throughout the US and Europe, operating in more than 80 cities and surpassing more than 6 million rides since its inaugural launch in North Carolina in June 2017.
It has drawn comparisons to Uber as a revolution in urban transport.
Ofo bike, the Chinese bike-sharing service, left the Czech market last year; Rekola was the first bike-sharing company on the Czech market, followed by Homeport and Velonet.