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Diversity, Equity and Movement: Lime’s Commitment to Black and Latinx Communities

Cities, Community, Policy | August 10, 2020 | Share 

As the world’s leading micromobility company, we feel a deep responsibility to help all people get where they want to go, regardless of income or zip code. The ability to travel freely between home, work, educational opportunities and recreation -- and to access affordable, reliable, and safe transportation options to get there -- are matters of racial and economic equality. 

 

Due to decades of underinvestment, racially-driven planning and zoning decisions, and segregationist policies, many cities have limited this access to opportunity. Our city partners are beginning to confront these century-old challenges, and we’ve been reflecting within Lime on how we can do our part as a resource to the largely Black and Latinx communities that have been impacted.

 

We don’t profess to have all the answers, but we wanted to share our initial thoughts on how to increase access to micromobility within Black and Latinx communities, and how to ease the strain of transportation deserts that affect historically-underserved communities that may be predominantly Black and Latinx. 

 

We’ll revisit these ideas regularly to see what’s working and to hold ourselves accountable. And we understand this dialogue will continue to evolve as we work to create more inclusive cities.

 

Supporting Minority-Owned Business Enterprises  

 

We recognize that serving Black and Latinx communities requires deeper engagement than simply providing transportation options. Being a true ally demands more, including support for small businesses, community-based organizations and local leaders working toward empowerment. 

 

  • Develop a Key Lime small business initiative. As part of our effort to connect our riders with local small businesses in communities of color, Lime is building a new program that will feature local Black- and Latinx-owned businesses directly in the Lime app to encourage our riders to patronize those businesses. 

 

  • Promote the highest standards among our suppliers. We expect all suppliers in our operations and supply chain, and their affiliates, subcontractors, and suppliers, to embrace social, environmental, and ethical responsibilities. Lime is updating our Supplier Code of Conduct with new social, environmental, and ethical responsibilities that all suppliers will be required to implement. In addition, our updated procurement process will prioritize Business Enterprises owned by People with Disabilities (BEPD), Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE), Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), Veteran Business Enterprises (VBE), Women Business Enterprises (WBE) and LGBT Business Enterprises.

 

Ensuring that Lime’s Team Reflects the Diversity of the Communities We Serve

 

Lime has taken strides to increase diversity on our leadership team and Board, but we can and must do better company-wide. With that in mind, we are currently taking the following actions.

 

Improving Black and Latinx representation throughout our company. Lime is committing  to increase the racial diversity of our full-time employee base and is actively working with our primary U.S. workforce partner TalentBurst, a Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), to assist with hiring efforts for our local operations teams. Our strategy to increase the number of black and latinx employees at Lime includes the following:  
  • Interviewing two or more candidates from under-represented groups for every full-time leadership position opening.
  • Training team members on proactive diverse candidate recruitment techniques and developing recruitment pipelines that better enhance diversity.
  • Partnering with local organizations in communities we serve -- like Chicago CRED, Center for Employment Opportunities, and BronxWorks -- to train people in the neighborhoods we serve for full-time operational specialist roles with our local operations teams.

 

  • Benchmark current company-wide diversity and set measurable goals. It’s imperative to understand current demographic trends at the company and establish clear improvement metrics. Lime is currently undertaking its first demographic survey with a third-party provider, and will use that data to set measurable diversity goals.

 

Supporting Local Black and Latinx Organizations and Businesses

 

Lime is committed to equality for all. One way we support local civil rights and racial justice organizations is through our Lime Hero program, which allows riders to round up the cost of their ride with a charitable donation. These partners include groups like:

 

 

We will also launch an effort at the local level to partner with local businesses so that we are investing in enterprises that can build wealth among communities that have been historically disenfranchised. 

 

Fostering Transportation Equity and Adoption for Underserved Communities

 

Establishing transportation equity for historically underserved communities isn’t just about placing a percentage of scooters and bikes in a given neighborhood.  It demands strategic programming and outreach to foster adoption and use of micromobility as a safe, accessible, and affordable transportation mode in communities where there are a lack of transportation options. 

 

Our rider surveys tell us that 17.2% of Lime riders in the U.S. are Black or Latinx. While we are proud of our diverse ridership, we know that there is still work to be done to ensure that our ridership resembles the communities we serve. Our data tells us that scooter and bike availability is not the only barrier to widespread adoption in underserved communities. The long-term lack of investment in safe transportation infrastructure like bike lanes and sidewalks, unreliable public transportation, and the lack of authentic community engagement are also aggravating factors.  

 

We must acknowledge that many communities where transportation resources are scarce and have been historically underserved, are predominately Black and Latinx communities. Lime is embracing four pillars to foster a culture of adoption and encourage use of micromobility in underserved communities: 

 

  • Provide vehicle types that meet the needs of riders in underserved communities. Lime uses data to analyze the trip lengths, destination points, and travel patterns of riders in underserved communities to determine the appropriate micromobility modalities to best serve their needs. In most instances, scooters are a transportation mode suitable for the needs of all riders, but where we find that riders are taking longer distance trips, between 3 to 5 miles, bikes are a complimentary mode of transportation to scooters. 

 

Partner with local, trusted community groups for impactful community engagement and programming. We recognize the value of identifying and partnering with local organizations that have built trust within the community and possess deep knowledge of the needs of both the people and neighborhoods within that community. Lime partners with these community stakeholders to:
  • hold our popular “First Ride” safety courses in local neighborhoods -- to meet riders where they are, guide them on how to safely ride both scooters and bikes and provide an environment to comfortably take a first scooter ride; and
  • appoint local team members to serve as Lime Ambassadors to assist and educate new riders on how to rent vehicles, and more importantly, how to enroll in our Lime Access program, which provides discounted fares and access to Lime for people without smartphones or credit cards. 
  •  
  • Use our digital platform to mobilize advocacy for improved and safer transportation infrastructure. Lime mobilizes our riders through our recently-launched Lime Action advocacy center to:
    • support improved bike and pedestrian infrastructure like bike lane networks in historically underserved communities, making them safer for all users.  City fees from rides in underserved areas should be put toward safer micromobility infrastructure in those areas.
    • support local organizations and community leaders engaged in grassroots work fighting for equity beyond transportation, including youth development programming, employment opportunities, racial injustice and more.


  • Expand service areas to help transit deserts. Many underserved communities with high numbers of Black and Latinx residents have received inequitable investment for decades, resulting in “transit deserts,” where reaching a subway or bus line means a 15 minute walk. Lime is working with cities to increase bike and scooter fleet caps so they become more reliable options for residents to easily connect to transit. Lime seeks to expand the boundaries of our local service areas to ensure they are inclusive of underserved communities. 

 

Collaborate with Cities to Develop More Successful Equity Policies 

 

Many cities currently require shared mobility operators to deploy a percentage of their scooter and bike fleets in historically underserved communities. While Lime is focused on increasing ridership in these communities, these vehicles unfortunately don’t receive as much usage as we’d hope; there’s a gap in deployment versus adoption. Lime is actively working with cities on new approaches that will better achieve equity goals of increasing mobility options and ridership in underserved communities:

  • Rethinking city guidelines for serving equity zones. Cities establish equity zones to ensure scooter and bike availability in underserved communities. To encourage micromobility adoption, we encourage cities to mandate that a percentage of scooters be deployed in neighborhoods with a high concentration of transit-dependent riders.  Cities should not assess fees on these vehicles or count them against an operator’s total fleet cap within a city. Cities should also actively participate, invest, and work alongside operators in creation of community engagement strategies, through rider education marketing campaigns.
  • Apply a progressive affordable housing policy model for micromobility. In cities across the country, local governments incentivize housing developers to build affordable housing above already established guidelines through tax abatement, fee waivers, or design flexibility. The most popular is a “density bonus” that allows a builder to build more units if they include more affordable units, allowing them to cross-subsidize the cost of the additional units. We are working with cities to try applying the same proven approach to micromobility: providing fleet bonuses for operators who achieve a targeted number of rides originating from underserved neighborhoods.
  • Support research to analyze barriers to usage. Researchers have looked closely at barriers to greater usage of micromobility, and we commit to supporting additional independent analysis of these barriers to increase micromobility adoption in both communities of color and historically underserved neighborhoods.

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