Coronavirus: Lime removes scooters in US, other countries

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Transport company Lime is pulling its electric scooters from nearly two dozen countries, including the United States, as the new coronavirus spreads worldwide.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the company said it was pulling the popular scooters from most of Europe, including Spain, France and Austria and was maintaining service in other countries including Australia and South Korea.

In the US, where the company operates in nearly 20 states, all services will be suspended, it added.

"The COVID-19 virus is an unprecedented challenge facing cities and communities around the world," said Brad Bao, the chief executive and founder of Lime.

"Like you, we are worried about the cities we love and call home, the people we serve, and our colleagues on the ground," he added.

"Loving cities means protecting them too. For now, we're pausing Lime service to help people stay put and stay safe."

He said in cities where the scooters will still be available, the company is taking extra precautions including "cleaning all parts of the scooter that are touched by people."

Nonetheless, Bao said, customers should wipe down scooters or bikes before using them and wear gloves as a precaution.

"In our offices and warehouses, we are distributing hand sanitizer," he added. "All of our mechanics and operators in the field are required to wear gloves and wash their hands regularly."

Bao said the company would continue to adjust its operations as the situation evolves.