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Riders finding dead Lime scooters as rental demands rise

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It’s been a week since lime scooters hit the streets of Milwaukee, and some riders say they’re often finding dead or uncharged scooters.

People who pick up these lime scooters and charge them overnight are called Lime Juicers. They use an app to find dead scooters, reserve them, then “harvest” or pick up the limes before juicing them at home.

Riders in Milwaukee say they’re disappointed when they find out the Lime scooter they wanted to rent is dead.

“A lot of times you run into them and they’re dead. So it’s kind of interesting because on the app it doesn’t always tell you if they’re dead or if they’re working or not,” said Maggie Turchinski, a Lime rider.

That’s when Peggi Christenson comes in. She’s a Lime Juicer, and takes home four scooters each night to charge before putting them back out on the street at 6 a.m.

”I use like a cellphone charger you just plug in, and then you just charge it like a cellphone and at tops the charge is six hours,” said Christenson.

Christenson is a daycare teacher and does Lime ‘juicing’ on the side. She gets paid from $4 to $8 per scooter charged, and in just five days she’s made almost $100. She says she likes the job, but the hard part is the heavy lifting.

”I would say the lifting is hard, because you got to basically have the physical requirements -- obviously I’m a daycare teacher, but it is kind of heavy, it’s up to 45 pounds per scooter,” adds Christenson.

Christenson feels there are enough Lime ‘juicers’ in the area, but says evenings and weekends are peak times when scooters are found dead, and riders agree.

”Saturdays especially, because we saw on Brady Fest this weekend that it was on high demand,” said Christenson.

”Around the evening time it’s in high demand,” said Turchinski. “Everyone wants to go out. You don’t have to drive, it’s cheaper than an Uber and it’s more fun than an Uber.”

Milwaukee’s Public Works Department says so far they’ve seen a relatively positive response with Lime scooters, but have found people riding on sidewalks a main issue. 

”They’re not allowed, and it’s illegal to be operated on the sidewalk, and we really do need to get that message out there,” said Jeff Polenske, Milwaukee’s Commissioner of Public Works.

The Milwaukee Department of Public Works says they’ve received two more applications, from Bird Scooters and Spin Scooters. They say those scooters could hit the streets soon, but could not say whether the addition of more scooters would affect the demand for them.

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