By Christina Sturdivant Sani

Smart mobility company Lime has launched a program called LimeHero that lets people who ride their dockless bikes and scooters make a donation to a non-profit that assists residents east of the Anacostia River.

The company, which operates in multiple cities across the country, bills the donation program as “the first of its kind in the smart mobility industry, and one that has the potential to make a significant and positive impact by raising awareness of nonprofit organizations across the country,” per a press release.

Harry Alford on a Lime scooter. (Courtesy Photo/Lime)

LimeHero is being piloted in Seattle, Austin, and D.C., where it’s partnering with Building Bridges Across the River—an organization headquartered at THEARC in Ward 8.

LimeBike rides are $1 for every half hour. As part of donation program, riders can choose to round their payment up to the nearest dollar, with the additional change going toward the charity.

“At Lime, we see our success tied to the success of the cities we live and work in. Our bikes and scooters allow people to explore more of their city in a brand new way, and our goal is for our riders to feel better connected with their city as a result,” said Lime program director Ryan Gallentine, in a press release. “That’s why we are excited to launch this feature, because it is yet another way for us and our riders to truly connect with the community.”

Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR) works to alleviate social, health, environmental and economic disparities in the city. “This partnership will introduce D.C. area Lime riders to BBAR’s important work to eliminate inequities that exist for residents east of the Anacostia River and highlights the need to expand access to smart mobility, especially in Wards 7 and 8,” Irfana Jetha Noorani, of the 11th Street Bridge Park, told the AFRO.

Lime is one of several companies that introduced dockless bikesharing to the city last fall. Before dockless bikes, D.C. residents only had the option of Capital Bikeshare, which required them to pick up and return bikes to designated stations, or docks, across the city. Many of those stations were not equally distributed throughout Wards 7 and 8, compared to the rest of the city.

Dockless bikes, on the other hand, can be parked on sidewalks almost anywhere in the city so they have the ability to reach areas where Capital Bikeshare does not. In March, Lime also added 50 electric scooters to their mobile offerings.

D.C. resident Harry Alford pointed out in a Lime promo video that lack of adequate transportation can hinder people from getting or keeping a job. “When you’re isolated in a certain community where you have no means to make a living, how are you expected to be able to travel to job interviews across town?” he said, adding that LimeBike’s price point, which is half of Capital Bikeshare, is “lowering the barrier to employment.”

Generally, Alford said, “the more ways and opportunities where entrepreneurs of color or students are able to connect with other people from diff backgrounds the better it is for the whole ecosystem together.”

For the pilot program in D.C., Lime randomly selected a percentage of their registered riders to participate. They will receive a notification that includes information about Building Bridges Across the River and an opportunity to opt in or out of the program.

“We look forward to empowering our riders to make contributions to these organizations and seeing the impact unified, collaborative efforts can have,” said Lime’s Gallentine.