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Lime brings 500 e-bikes back to Brussels from today

Credit: Belga

After the Jump sharing bicycles disappeared from the streets of Brussels during the coronavirus lockdown, the red e-bikes will return to the Region from today, just ahead of car-free Sunday this weekend.

Lime, mainly known for its electric sharing scooters, will now also deploy an initial fleet of 500 bikes throughout the Brussels-Capital Region, and gradually increase the number of bicycles depending on the demand.

At the end of March, Uber put its Jump service on hold “due to exceptional circumstances,” which saw the Belgian government’s far-reaching measures urging people to stay at home as much as possible. In May, the bikes then disappeared from the streets of Brussels.

However, the coronavirus pandemic demonstrated a clear need for sustainable transport in Brussels, according to Lime. Figures by Brussels Environment show that every day, approximately 370,000 cars drive through the city to commute between home and work, and that 25% of those journeys are shorter than 1 km.

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With the Jump bikes, Lime wants to offer an alternative way of commuting that is environmentally friendly, accessible for users and can guarantee the mandatory social distance in the city.

“The return of this international player in shared mobility shows that active mobility is gaining strength in Brussels. I am delighted that the range of bicycle solutions on offer to the people of Brussels is growing every day,” said Brussels Mobility Minister Elke Van de Brandt.

With this move, Lime and Jump can reap the benefits from the changes Brussels implemented to its roads and bicycle lanes during the crisis, mainly to provide cyclists and scooter users with more cycle lanes and open space.

“Thanks to an ever-evolving network of cycle lanes in Brussels, our services allow everyone to rethink their daily journeys and to have an alternative to the car,” said Benjamin Barnathan, Lime’s General Manager in Belgium, adding that the company offers a range of LimePasses for daily but also monthly use.

During and after the lockdown, the people of Brussels “largely modified their habits” when it comes to transport, Barnathan said, adding that the city saw a steady increase in cyclists over the past months.

With the start of the school year, the figure went up even more, as Brussels authorities recorded a 75% rise during the first week, compared to last year.

The Jump bikes will be accessible via both the Uber and the Lime smartphone app, and cost €1 to unlock, and €0.20 per minute the bike is in use.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times