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How to join LimeBike’s low-income rider program

Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio
LimeBike now offers 100 rides for $5 to people who qualify for financial assistance.

Low-income St. Louisans now have a cheaper way to rent a ride from LimeBike.

At the beginning of April, LimeBike and another bikeshare company, Ofo, introduced their colorful bicycles to St. Louis. Normally, it costs $1 for 30 minutes to ride a LimeBike or $1 an hour to ride an Ofo bike.

Both companies have said they value social equality. To make their bikes more accessible for low-income riders, LimeBike and Ofo offer options — like text-to-unlock services — that don’t require smartphones or credit cards.

This month, LimeBike rolled out a new program, Lime Access, that lets low-income riders purchase 100 rides for $5. People may start applying now.

“Our goal is to be able to provide smart mobility for everyone, regardless of their resources,” said Megan Colford, community affairs manager for LimeBike.

The company has developed smaller-scale local models in Los Angeles and other cities. Colford said the Lime Access program expands those successful concepts nationally.

What’s the program?

Lime Access lets qualified people rent the company’s basic bikes for 5 cents per ride. (The program doesn’t cover electric bikes or scooters.)

How do I qualify?

For Lime Access, riders must qualify for government assistance programs run by the federal government, their state or a local entity. People must show documents indicating that they can or have signed up for those programs.

The city’s bike share website notes that if someone qualifies for government assistance but doesn’t have documentation, eight local organizations can help.

How do I sign up?

Email access@limebike.com with the following information:

  1. Full name
  2. Phone number (of the phone you will use for LimeBike)
  3. Valid government-issued photo ID (such as a passport or driver’s license)
  4. Proof of lower income (such as an EBT card, discounted utility bill or document from an assistance program)

The company's website says those who apply can expect to hear from a Lime employee within two business days, with information about how to enroll in the program, get a barcode to enable purchase and find a payment location.
How do I purchase time?

Riders may pay through LimeBike’s app using a credit card, debit card or Apple Pay. Or they may pay cash at a PayNearMe location.  Some CVS, 7-Eleven or Family Dollar stores are participating in the program. Riders will have to use their LimeBike-associated phone number to log into their account on PayNearMe’s Lime page. The page will provide a barcode  to purchase the rides at a PayNearMe location.

How do I take my rides?

Riders may use a smartphone, or, if they don’t have a smartphone, text Lime services to unlock.

Follow Kae on Twitter: @kmaepetrin

Correction: The Lime Access rate for low-income riders is 100 rides for $5, which equates to 5 cents per ride. A previous St. Louis Public Radio report misstated the cost per ride.

Kae Petrin covers public transportation and housing as a digital reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.

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