Bird vs Lime: Scooter war hits Cincinnati

Is one cheaper or better than the other?

Have you tried the new electric scooters in Downtown Cincinnati yet? 

The city suddenly has so many transit options: The streetcar, Red Bikes, buses, and as of mid-September not one, but two electric scooter services.

We found riders in Over-the-Rhine trying out the newest option: Lime scooters.

The neon-green Lime scooters compete with the black-and-white Bird scooters that already are a common sight, since they first appeared in late July.

OTR clothing boutique manager Hanna Lubowski loves them.

"I see people coming from the Clifton area even, so it's bringing people from up in the Clifton area to downtown, back to this area, so it's great," Lubowski said.

How to ride Bird or Lime

The first thing you want to do is download the app from either one (or better yet, from both) onto your phone. You'll then enter your phone number and credit card for billing, just like with Uber or Lyft.

The app shows you where all the available scooters are located at that moment; there's not a rack or storage hub.

Once you find one nearby, you use the app to take a picture of the scooter's QR code, which unlocks the scooter and bills your credit card.

If you wish to stop at a business, you can temporarily lock it (so no one else can take it), then jump on again. When you are done for the day, you simply close out on the app.

Bird vs Lime    

How do Bird and Lime compare? Is one better than the other?

WCPO Transportation and Development reporter Pat LaFleur says the costs are identical.

Each brand charges $1 to unlock the scooter, then 15 cents a minute.

"It's going to be less than $10 for an hour worth of riding," LaFleur said. "Just riding around Downtown, and from what I've seen, most people only use them for 10 or 15 minutes, because they are not designed to get very far."

As for speed, both brands go 15 miles per hour, so don't expect to win a race in either one. (Besides, you shouldn't try to race a scooter on city streets.) 

And you are supposed to ride them in the street, though we found several riders zooming in and out of pedestrians on city sidewalks.

To better your chance of finding one near you, LaFleur says your best bet is to have both apps, then use the scooter that is closest.

You can earn money, too    

If you wonder how they are charged, employees called "Lime Juicers" and "Bird Hunters" or "Bird Gatherers"  (different cities use different terms) gather them up, take them home, and charge them every night around 9 p.m. 

They then leave put them out on popular street corners at 7 a.m, fully charged.

And yes, if you'd like a little extra cash, you can earn $20 to $50 a night as a charger. Learn more through Bird and Lime's websites, so you don't waste your money.

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