Auckland Council has extended the Lime e-scooters licence for 10 weeks to the end of March.

The announcement was made this morning at a press conference outside the AT offices at 10.30am.

AT bosses and a representative from Lime attended.


The decision to extend Lime's licence was taken earlier today and announced by Auckland Council chief operating officer Dean Kimpton.

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Kimpton said to ensure people's safety there were plans for roving ambassadors and pop up tents.

The council and AT were working with Lime to manage risks, he said.

A review of the trial would determine whether hireable e-scooters become a permanent fixture in the region.

"While they are not everyone's preferred mode of transport, e-scooters have certainly proven popular in Auckland – we've seen significant growth in private ownership of e-scooters, as well as high uptake of rental scooters, in the last few months.

"Initially, three e-scooter operators were expected to participate in this trial over a four-month summer period. Their licences were staggered between mid-October 2018 and the end of February 2019," Kimpton said.

"Lime's licence was due to end on 14 January, leaving us without any operators in the Auckland market for the remainder of the trial period.

"We have extended Lime's licence to allow us to continue to gather information and to complete our review. We are also pleased to be working with Lime on trialling some additional initiatives that will add to our review."

The extension to Lime's licence will be processed this week and the licence will end on March 31. The cost of extending the licence is $2653.63.

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Auckland Transport chief executive Shane Ellison said e scooters had had a fantastic take up but safety was a major issue.

"Enabling this trial to continue for a further ten weeks will give us a holistic picture of the demand for and use of e-scooters in our city and enable a clear way of managing that demand in the future.

"It is also important to note in this context that safety is Auckland Transport's most important priority. Electric scooters can be ridden on footpaths, roads and separated cycleways – that means they share their path with people, cars and bikes – so safety considerations must be a priority.

"We are also pleased that Lime has committed to working with us on some safety-focused initiatives to increase responsible use of e-scooters. Our streets are used by lots of different people and modes of transport. We are working to improve road safety and we are pleased that Lime will be working in partnership with us to trial initiatives around scooter education and appropriate speeds on our busier footpaths."

Auckland Council, in consultation with AT, has been considering whether to extend a three-month trial licence for the Lime scooters across the city.

Lime's street-trading licence is due to expire on January 14.

There have been more than 600 e-scooter ACC injury claims since the e-scooters launched in Auckland in October last year and later in Christchurch and the Hutt Valley.

Earlier this week, Mayor Phil Goff said Lime e-scooters had been incredibly popular with most people riding them responsibly - but there had been some cases of reckless and irresponsible use causing crashes and accident compensation claims.

Since October, Lime has put hundreds of its green electric scooters on the streets of Auckland and Christchurch where they have proven a big hit to get around town.

Under road user rules, e-scooters are allowed to be used on the footpath, separated cycleway shared paths and on the road. They cannot be used in on-road cycleways, unless they are impeding road traffic.

While the rules do not require e-scooter riders to wear a helmet, NZ Transport Agency strongly recommends that helmets are worn for safety.

Goff has welcomed the e-scooters as an alternative means of getting around the city, but has raised concerns with Transport Minister Phil Twyford about changing the rules to allow scooters in cycleways and the need for a speed limit.

He favours a speed limit of 10km/h. Helmets - not legally required and currently only seen in Lime publicity shots - could also be on the agenda.

Auckland councillors Chris Fletcher and Sharon Stewart are also calling for measures to regulate the use of e-scooters on the city's streets.

Fletcher was nearly knocked off her feet by a Lime rider outside the Auckland Town Hall on October 25, prompting Goff to order a safety probe by council officials.

"They are quite fun and have a role to play in Auckland, but put them in the right place with a the right set of conditions," said Fletcher, who supports a 10km/h speed limit.

The safety report sought by Goff, information from the trial, input from ACC, NZTA, Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and Christchurch City Council, will be packaged for councillors to decide whether to continue issuing licences for e-scooter providers.

In Auckland, Lime has paid the council $3326 for a licence to operate scooters for three months. The council does not receive any share of the company's income or profits.

In Christchurch, the council has charged Lime $136 for a permit to operate up to 700 e-scooters from October 15 last year to the end of February.

Meanwhile Lime e-scooters have launched in Dunedin today.

Unlike in Christchurch and Auckland, Lime would not be paying a fee to operate in the city, as it did not require a permit.

Lime city launcher Matt McNeill said safety was a key concern for the company and it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dunedin City Council which focused on safety and customer service.

About 300 scooters would be available from 11am today and the company would review whether more were needed, McNeill said.

The company has hired about 30 employees, both full-time and part-time, to run the service in the city.

At first the company would focus on the central city, tertiary precinct and areas such as the city's beaches.

A council spokeswoman said it was not planning on restricting the use of the scooters in the city and would work collaboratively with the company.

The council had also discussed the launch of the service with Dunedin police.

- Additional reporting: Otago Daily Times