The scooter wars head to the map

According to their proselytizers, electric scooters are destined to revolutionize how people move around cities. That remains to be seen: In the U.S., at least, the share of people driving their cars to work hasn’t budged much since the start of the “micromobility revolution.”

But as scooter companies race to profitability—and long-term viability—they’re also becoming more competitive. One example: Scooter Map, an app that allows riders and gig-worker chargers to find bikes and scooters from multiple scooter companies in one place, has been recently feeling heat from Lime, according to its founder Victor Pontis.

Lime, which is one of the largest players in the micromobility biz with vehicles in more than 100 countries, "has sent Cease and Desist letters to Scooter Map and has petitioned Apple to remove Scooter Map from the App Store,“ Pontis tweeted last week. In a statement to Mashable, which covered the story, Lime explained that "Scooter Map’s approach negatively impacts the rider experience and trust we’ve built with our users, which is why we have asked them to stop scraping our API in violation of the law and our terms of service."  But Pontis denies that he’s doing anything illegal, and is collecting signatures in defense of his project.

Scooter Map shows bikes and scooters from multiple providers in San Francisco. 

Scooter Map/Bloomberg

This kerfuffle might seem small, but it mirrors other spats in this corner of the mapping and transportation spheres. In 2019, the multi-modal mapping company Transit pushed back when Lyft pulled its bikes and scooters from view on its app. And the fact that Lime is the only micromobility company whose rentals are now displayed on Google Maps (Google being a key investor) has raised eyebrows, as well. "Citizens and riders should be able to understand what the mobility landscape looks like in their cities,” Pontis told me. 

What do you think? Should every mode of transportation be available in one app, competitive interests be damned? Or does Lime have a point?