UPDATE: An internal email obtained by the Herald reveals Auckland Council is planning to extend Lime's licence to the end of March. More here.

In just a few days, we'll know if Auckland streets will be flooded with more e-scooters - or whether they'll disappear.

Lime's street-trading licence will expire on January 14 - the end of a three-month trial.

Councillors and licensing staff will discuss Lime when they return from their Christmas and New Year break on January 7, a spokeswoman says.


"A decision on the next steps will be taken that week," she says.

Mayor Phil Goff ordered a probe after councillor Christine Fletcher was nearly knocked off her feet by a Lime rider outside the Town Hall on October 25 and 150 ACC claims were racked up in a month.

Councillors and staff were waiting on the final version of that report, the spokeswoman said. The results of AT's Lime survey will also be digested.

Lime riders in Auckland. Photo / Chris Keall.
Lime riders in Auckland. Photo / Chris Keall.

"Several people will be involved and consulted. Whether it goes to a council vote will not be known until everyone meets in the New Year," the spokeswoman said.

She said the council is watching events in Queensland, where the Gold Coast Council took a hard line against Lime, confiscating e-scooters and forcing the company to suspend operations for failing to follow licensing rules.

Lime riders in Christchurch. Photo / Christchurch City Council.
Lime riders in Christchurch. Photo / Christchurch City Council.

Lime's trial licence in Christchurch expires at the end of February.

The council is currently asking for feedback through its website.

10km speed limit?

There are three possible outcomes for Lime.

The worst-case scenario would be that it had its licence pulled.

The best-case would be an extension of its trial, or a permanent licence.

But it's also possible its licence would be extended, but with conditions. For example, following the tumultuous council meeting after the Fletcher near-miss, a 10km per hour speed-limit was mooted (a Lime can hit a top-speed of 27km/h on the flat, though there have been reports of up to 40km/h hit downhill).

"I think there has to be a speed limit and we are looking at the initial idea of a speed limit of around 10km/h but we will listen to public feedback on that," Goff said.

Helmets - not legally required and currently only seen in Lime publicity shots - could also be on the agenda, the mayor said.

What happened to Onzo and Wave?

Lime launched in New Zealand in October, putting 1000 scooters into Auckland and 700 into Christchurch. It has since launched in Upper and Lower Hutt.

Local contender Onzo - which already has e-bikes in Auckland - was due to launch up to 2500 e-scooters in the city on November 6, while Australia's Wave Scooters had a November 30 NZ launch slated.

Neither could be immediately reached for comment Auckland Council understands both are now waiting on the result of Lime's trial before committing to the city.

Uber waiting in the wings

Uber, which along with Google has been bankrolling the San Francisco-based Lime, will also be watching closely.

The company sees a move to "multi-modal" transport as the answer to inner-city congestion - from e-scooters to e-bikes and even walkers.

Uber's injection of hundreds of millions into Lime, and its purchase of e-bike operator Jump show it's serious about its multi-modal strategy, which one of the company's NZ staff says will be a major point of focus for 2019.