Drive, walk, transit, bike, or — scooter?
Free-floating electric scooter-share is the latest mobility option Google Maps will serve up to travelers looking for the best route home. Alphabet and Lime announced a new integration Tuesday that will display available Lime scooters in Android users’ Google Maps app in more than 100 cities.
Among others, the partnership applies to Washington’s three largest cities: Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane, though Seattle does not permit free-floating scooter-share yet as the city works on a pilot program.
When Google Maps users search for directions over a short distance, they’ll see scooters as an option in their biking, walking, and transit tab. Google Maps will display the location and battery range of each available scooter, as well as estimated journey time and ETA if a traveler chooses that route.
Google Maps will also display Lime bicycles available for rent starting today. LimePods, the free-floating car-sharing service the company rolled out earlier this year, will not be visible in Google Maps.
The scooter-share industry has ballooned over the past three years, with companies such as Lime and Bird raising billions in venture capital and expanding to hundreds of cities. Mobility wonks hail the new services as an environmentally-friendly way to get around growing urban congestion. But health and accessibility advocacy groups have sounded the alarm over safety concerns.
The Lime-Google Maps integration is launching Tuesday for Android users and on iOS later in August, Lime says.