Lime has announced the suspension of its electric scooter business in California and Washington state due to the COVID-19 pandemic
According to foreign media, Lime has suspended its services in California, Washington State, Italy, France and Spain in response to the Novel Coronavirus pandemic.Earlier, San Francisco and surrounding states instituted a stay-at-home order aimed at curbing the spread of the disease.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Lime may have no choice but to suspend service in California, since the Bay Area home stay order effectively prohibits non-essential travel such as "walking, cycling, scooters, cars or public transportation."But the decision to stop service in Washington and three European countries is unprecedented for the fledgling micromobile sector.
"Like you, we worry about the cities we love and call home, the people we serve, and our colleagues on the road," writes Lime CEO Brad Bao in a blog post. "Loving cities also means protecting them.Right now, we're suspending Lime services to help people stay where they are and stay safe."
So far, Bird, Spin, Skip, Uber and Lyft are among the other big electric scooter companies that have not done anything similar.In response to requests for comment, spokesmen of the companies said they hadn't made a decision or were monitoring the situation closely.
All scooter companies say they have stepped up cleaning procedures and advise users to wear gloves to protect themselves while riding.
The covid-19 pandemic could be a disaster to the electric-scooter rental industry, especially in the aftermath of winter, when most companies expect traffic and revenue to drop sharply.
Other competitors like Bird, Uber and Lyft, Lime has been trying to make electric scooters profitable.
Most experts agree that the market is saturated and needs consolidation.In recent months Lime has joined Bird, Skip, Scoot and Lyft in laying off staff associated with Scoot.In January, the company announced it was cutting 14% of its workforce and exiting 12 markets.