Embattled e-scooter company Lime has penned a heartfelt break-up letter to Auckland - and it's promising its green scooters will be back on the city's streets someday.
Auckland Council announced on Friday that Lime and Wave scooters would lose their licenses due to safety concerns.
Two new Singapore-based e-scooter companies, Neuron and Beam, would gain licenses to operate in Auckland, joining current operators Flamingo and Uber's Jump.
The new licenses would come into effect on Tuesday and run for six months. Between them the four operators are allowed to run 3200 scooters in Auckland.
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By order of Auckland Council, all Lime scooters must be deactivated by today and removed from Auckland streets by Friday.
Lime President Joe Kraus today told Aucklanders the city "occupies a special place in Lime's heart".
"Because Aucklanders, you were bold. Bold to see - long before many other cities in the world - the meaningful contribution this form of transport can have as our cities change. We are so proud to have pioneered this new form of mobility with you in Auckland."
Kraus said he was "deeply disappointed" they had been taken off the road but the company would "work tirelessly during that time to earn back the Council's trust and return to serving the people of Auckland".
"We value the many partnerships that we've worked hard to build across the community and will work hard to resume our service with them.
"Introducing innovation is never easy or risk-free, and we hope that the new operators will continue to free the city from its reliance on private cars."
Limes had been on the road in Auckland for 13 months seeing 2.3 million rides clocked up on the city's streets by the 300,000 riders.
"Over the last few days, our Auckland team has been humbled by your messages of support and I want to thank everyone who uses Lime for sharing their stories - from the riders who sold their cars to the juicers who have earned a living," he said.
The company would refund any credits owed to riders.
As the first and most visible e-scooter brand in Auckland, Lime has borne the brunt of criticism around safety, both for riders and pedestrians. There have been more than 2000 e-scooter-related claims to ACC in less than a year, costing more than $4.3 million.
Since Lime hit Auckland in October 2018 there have been deaths and numerous brain injuries as a result of crashes involving e-scooters. Not all of those were Lime scooters but Lime was the first and most visible brand in Auckland.
Part of the problem is the lack of regulation around scooters, including whether they should be used on the road or the footpath (it's illegal to use them in bike lanes) and whether users should wear helmets. Speed limits were introduced in Auckland's CBD after a safety review.
The council says it hopes within six months that NZTA will have introduced new legislation making scooters safer to ride.
WHAT A RIDE:
[Lime rider numbers as of 22 Nov 2019]
• 2.2 million Lime rides in Auckland,
• 2.9 million km travelled in Auckland,
• 307,000 Auckland riders,
• 4.4 million Lime rides have been taken in NZ
• 6.4 million kms travelled in NZ