Lime has been given until noon tomorrow to provide information on safety issues or face the possibility of its e-scooters being taken off Auckland streets.
In a joint statement issued this morning from Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, council chief operating officer Dean Kimpton said the council bodies have been actively seeking assurances about the faults from Lime this week, with some scooters locking.
"Auckland Council has formally written to Lime twice this week to request urgent updates, for us to be able to decide on any next steps from a licensing perspective.
If this was as an aircraft with a problem it would be grounded
"We have also asked Lime to provide information on the number of scooters affected, the technical issue leading to failure, its proposed solution including how it will manage pulling affected scooters off the streets, and assurance there will no further malfunctions," Kimpton said.
Kimpton said Lime has until noon tomorrow to provide Auckland Council and Auckland Transport with the information to make an assessment.
An AT spokeswoman said Lime reaffirmed today their commitment to meet the timeframes.
"Tomorrow we expect to take an informed view based on their feedback," the spokeswoman said.
Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy told the Herald if Lime fails to meet the deadline he would expect management to take the appropriate action based on the level of concern.
Levy said if the safety problem was restricted to a handful of scooters and there were assurances by Lime around fixing them that would be fine.
But if there are systemic, unpredictable defects that cannot be rectified quickly there would have to be a conversation about suspending the service until the problem is properly identified and fixed.
"If this was an aircraft with a problem it would be grounded," he said.
Levy said e-scooters played an important role in new innovative modes of transport in Auckland, but they need to be safe.
Kimpton said high expectations had been set for scooter safety for Lime's customers and other road users as part of Lime's licence extension.
"We expect issues like this to be raised with us as a priority. Customers have an expectation that these services are safe to operate," Kimpton said.
Levy yesterday said: "We cannot let cool trump safety … when you have equipment failure, I think the burden of proof should fall on the company."
Several people have been injured after the front wheel of the Lime e-scooter they were riding locked up including Auckland man Liam Thompson.
Thompson was injured riding a Lime on Friday night after the front wheel locked up and he flew over the handlebars.
The 27-year-old suffered a broken jaw and cuts and grazes all over his body.
At least two other men have been injured riding the e-scooters in similar incidents.
A spokesperson for Lime earlier said it "recently" became aware of the operational issue affecting certain scooters and an investigation was under way.
"While the issue is still under investigation, user safety is our first priority and the affected scooters have been removed from circulation," Lime said.
"In the meantime, we are in the process of rolling out early detection and additional preventative measures for our global fleet.
"Lime's public liability insurance is there for riders and the public if something goes wrong."
Last month, Lime temporarily removed all of its 550 scooters form the streets of Zurich and Basel in Switzerland after a series of incidents when the front brakes of the scooters were allegedly automatically activated when they reached their full speed of around 24km/h.
Levy said if there is a problem in Auckland, Lime was best placed to make a decision.
Kimpton said as part of the code of practice for shared scooter services, the operator needs to ensure its fleet is safe for its customers. The code of practice outlines safety and maintenance standards.
Auckland Council staff have the delegation to grant street trading licences under the Auckland Council and Auckland Transport Trading and Events in Public Places Bylaw 2015. Street trading licences are granted to businesses who operate in public spaces and cover a range of activities from mobile food vendors, outdoor dining to events.