Kevin Lopez took the first electric-powered scooter ride of his life on Monday and paid 15 cents a minute to cruise around downtown Minneapolis.
When he took his second ride on a Lime scooter Friday morning, he paid 5 cents more per minute.
Despite the increase, "I'll keep riding," said Lopez, of Lakeville, who used one of the bright green scooters to run errands before helping his parents operate a food truck on 2nd Avenue S. "They are a breeze. They are quick and fun."
The price hike by Lime was matched by competitor Spin. Both San Francisco-based companies now charge $1 to unlock the scooters by using a smartphone app and then 20 cents a minute to ride. Previously, they charged 15 cents a minute.
Lyft did not raise its price and remains at 15 cents per minute.
Lime adjusts pricing during the busiest seasons of the year, a company spokesman said Friday.
"As we enter the busy summer travel months, we've adjusted our pricing in some markets to ensure that our service is reliable, and that we can continue to offer excellent operational support where riders demand it most," a Lime spokesman said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear if rates in St. Paul and Edina, where Lime also operates, increased.
With a third of its riders nationwide making $50,000 or less and half with incomes of $75,000 or less, Lime also said it was committed to being an affordable and reliable source of transportation. Rates for members of Lime Access, a program that enables people who qualify for state or federal assistance programs, remained unchanged. Lime Access members pay 50 cents to unlock a scooter and 7 cents per minute.
The company did not say if the rate per minute for regular riders in Minneapolis would drop back to 15 cents after the peak summer period.
For regular riders, an extra 5 cents per minute can add up fast. With the new rate, a 10-minute ride on Lime and Spin that formerly cost $2 will now cost $3. A one-hour ride that once cost $10 will now set riders back $13.
In comparison, Nice Ride, the bike sharing program, charges $2 for a single 30-minute ride or $6 a day for unlimited 30-minute rides. Metro Transit charges 50 cents for rides taken in the downtown area and $2 for all other rides during off-peak hours and $2.50 during rush hours.
Tom Jensen learned about the price hike when a notice popped up on his smartphone as he took a Lime scooter on Friday from his downtown office to Target Field to get Twins tickets and to swing by the Hennepin Government Center. Even though rides are now more expensive, he said the increase won't deter him from using the electric-powered devices to make short trips.
"It's not at the breaking point," Jensen said as he parked a scooter outside an office tower at 6th Street and Nicollet Mall, where he works as an attorney. "I don't have to get my car out of the garage. It's convenient and fun."
A spokeswoman for Spin, which now operates in 50 U.S. cities, said prices went up in other places where there is high demand but did not identify those locations. "It depends on the market," she said.
In Minneapolis, Lime has between 600 and 667 scooters on the streets each day. Spin has 500 to 600 in operation and Lyft 200 to 300, according to Minneapolis Public Works.
The local rate hike comes as Spin announced this week that it will bring its new third generation of scooters to Minneapolis next month. Along with a new logo, scooters will have a longer frame and longer platform. They also will have bigger tires, batteries that allow riders to go longer distances and features to help deter vandalism and theft.
In leaving its rates as is, a Lyft spokeswoman said the company with a big ride-sharing business has not changed its pricing model since launching scooters in Minneapolis. It also allows low-income residents to ride for $5 a month.
"Lyft is proud of its commitment to affordable pricing for scooters nationwide and in Minneapolis," a company spokeswoman said in a statement. "Transportation equity is fundamental to Lyft."