A fleet of 200 bright green bicycles arrives in Watertown on Friday. These bicycles are part of the town’s first bikeshare program, run by Lime.
Unlike the bikeshares in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville, Lime operates a dockless bike program.
“Lime is thrilled to bring our dock-free smart bikes to Arlington and Watertown. Many of the communities north of Boston have now added our affordable, green transportation option for everyone to enjoy,” said Scott Mullen, Lime Director of Expansion, New England.
The entire Lime fleet of bikes is GPS and 3G-enabled, allowing riders to find, unlock and pick up a bike or scooter using their smartphones. When their ride is complete, the rider can end the ride with the Limm app and park it or leave it in a bike rack. The app is available at the iPhone App Store or GooglePlay.
The company also started operating in Arlington this week, and the communities the fifth and sixth to launch Lime in the area since April. According to its website, Lime will operate in more than a dozen communities around Boston, including Belmont, Waltham and Newton.
The Town teamed up with other communities to submit a joint bid for bikesharing programs through the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). Lime was one of two companies selected.
“Watertown is pleased to be part of this bike-sharing network of 15 communities. Bikesharing is a great tool to help reduce the number of car trips throughout the Town, thereby reducing congestion and pollution,” said Steve Magoon, Assistant Town Manager and Director of Community Development and Planning of Watertown. “It also promotes a great means of active transportation.”
In the launch announcement, Lime said the bikes can be used on the growing network of bike paths in Metro Boston.
“Our expansion complements the Emerald Network, a growing system of off-road bike paths connecting communities, and allows stress-free travel throughout the region,” Mullen said. “The Arlington and Watertown paths will soon be joined through the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway– a critical piece of the broader network.”
The service will provide a nice alternative for residents, said Andy Compagna, chair of the Watertown Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee.
“The arrival of Lime Bike will increase the population of cyclists who want a convenient, maintenance-free option and will serve as a great complement to the evolving cycling infrastructure here in Watertown,” Compagna said. “Benefits to all Watertown residents will include a reduction in short car trips, increase in environmental quality and overall personal health. We welcome Lime bike to Watertown and look forward to working with them.”
The introduction of Lime was also welcomed by officials at athenahealth, which will host bikes at its headquarters on Arsenal Street in Watertown.
“After five years of waiting for bikeshare services, athenahealth is excited to welcome LimeBike to Watertown and the Arsenal on the Charles campus,” said Bridger McGaw, director of Global Security & Services at athenahealth. “Our employees and tenants are excited to be able use LimeBike during their business day to provide a healthy alternative to explore the Charles River and the many local Watertown businesses throughout the area. We hope other riders will find their way to our campus to enjoy the theater and restaurants here as well.”
Those hoping to use Lime bikes to go into Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline may run into some hitches. Watertown Transportation Planner Laura Wiener said the company that runs the bike share in those communities, BlueBikes (formerly Hubway), has an exclusive agreement, and the communities invested thousands of dollars to install the docking stations.
“They don’t want dockless bikes in their communities,” Wiener said. “If you ride in (on a Lime bike), you can’t be guaranteed to ride the bike home. You may have to take the T home.”
Lime operates in more than 70 communities from coast to coast, at more than 15 college campuses (including Holy Cross) and in several German cities.
The company is offering a $5 credit for those wishing to use its bike buy using the promo code: LIMELAUNCH.