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Scooter rivals fear Lime monopoly as Brisbane ‘Juicers’ feel squeeze


“There’s a bunch of the Juicers in our community, they’ve switched to doing it full-time,” he said.

“One of them was an Uber driver, so she’s switched to just doing Lime scooters and she’s loving it.

“She’s just invested her full-time job into doing these things and in the past few weeks it’s gotten to a point where it’s gotten worse and worse.

“We see some weeks where there are so many Juicers out there we can’t actually pick up a scooter … because there are so many people out there trying to make a quick buck.

“They’ve also reduced prices per scooter, before it was $7 per scooter and they’ve cut that back to $6 per scooter.

“That’s a big impact for a lot of people.”

The council’s decision was criticised on Wednesday by another scooter company, Beam Mobility, which said it had written to the council requesting to be included in the trial.

Beam’s vice-president of corporate affairs, Christopher Hilton, said Beam was disappointed in the extended exclusive permit for Lime.

“Running an open and fair tender process is a positive step but allowing a single operator an additional 90 days to entrench their position makes it nearly impossible for Beam or any other operator to compete on a level playing field,” Mr Hilton said.

“In advance of this decision, Beam wrote to the council to request that it be permitted to operate during the trial under the existing terms.

“We strongly urge them to reconsider this decision and allow us to participate in the trial in order to ensure a process is actually competitive.”

Cr Schrinner said at the council meeting the introduction of a second scooter company in the middle of the year would bring about healthy competition in the marketplace as demand was expected to rise for mobility scooters.

“We will run a procurement process where we will invite every interested scooter company to put in their tenders for Brisbane,” Cr Schrinner said.

“We want to see good, competitive tenders.

“We know there is big demand and we know that many of those trips are taking cars off the road, this is the way that cities all around the world are going.”

Lime’s community affairs manager for Queensland, Nelson Savanh, said half a million Lime rides had been taken since the trial launch and the company expected demand to continue.

“We have around 100 active Juicers in Brisbane,” Mr Savanh said.

“Many Juicers use the work as a supplementary income and can earn over $100 a night.”

Since the trial began, a micro-economy has launched around the scooters, with at least three “charging stations” created by enterprising Juicers in warehouses around the city.

These warehouse stations have mass electric outlets and can be rented out by Juicers for a night.

Lucy is the urban affairs reporter for the Brisbane Times, with a special interest in Brisbane City Council.

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