Let’s face it: when some 400k people descend on an already-crowded state capital for the week, transportation headaches are sure to follow.
Such has been the case at this year’s (like every year’s) SXSW music and technology festival in Austin, Texas.
It was no great surprise, then, when Apptopia’s Adam Blacker announced yesterday that electric scooter companies like Lime were experiencing a noticeable spike in app downloads in direct correlation to Austin’s suddenly-swelling population.
Whereas taxis and rideshares can prompt 30-minute waits or more during South By Southwest, this year’s influx of electric scooters has meant that attendees are never more than a short walk away from their next electric-powered ride across town.
Inc.’s Jeff Bercovici went so far as to call the motorized two-wheelers “exactly the innovation this innovation festival has needed for years, and a mode of transportation that should change cities for the better”.
What few, if any, were expecting, however, was just how much SXSW scooter riders would be giving back to the city.
Lime’s charitable donation program, dubbed Lime Hero, has been experiencing a significant uptick of its own since the kickoff of the festival on March 8th, according to Lime Director of Mobilization Ryan Gallentine. "We’ve seen a 91% increase in Austin donations through our Lime Hero program compared to the weekly average," he said, "along with an 82% uplift in riders participating in the program."
Many of those donations have been made to the host city’s own Austin Music Foundation, which has participated in Lime Hero since last August. Riders who choose to opt-into Lime Hero agree to add a small additional percentage to the end of their trip in order to support any of Lime’s participating non-profits.
In addition to the bump in donations, Lime staff in Austin have also been hard at work ensuring that walkways are clear of scooters and riders have everything they need to stay safe while scooting. According to Ops Manager Zachary Carter, hundreds of free Lime helmets have already been given out at events throughout the city.
Subscribe to the Lime Blog to learn more about Lime’s community initiatives, or download the app to take a ride around Austin today.