E-scooter rental start-up Lime is suspending its services in Prague, other dozens of cities across Europe and beyond, as the coronavirus outbreak puts further financial pressure on a cash-guzzling corner of the technology industry.
No word on when the scooters could possibly be put back into use.
“For now, we’re pausing Lime service to help people stay put and stay safe,” said Brad Bao, Lime’s co-founder and chief executive, in a blog post.
“We’re following the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], the World Health Organization, federal agencies and other global health organisations to collect the most up-to-the-minute information to ensure the actions we’re taking are comprehensive and expedient.”
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.
Lime continues to operate in cities in the United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. In those markets, Lime said it has enhanced cleaning methods and frequency, disinfecting all parts of the scooter that are touched by users.