Lime’s new platform lets you rent other companies’ e-scooters

The platform will be ready this winter, when you’ll find Wheels rides initially available in Austin, Berlin, Miami and Seattle.

The move could help Lime corner short-range transportation by making it the go-to company for anyone who wants to offer bikes and scooters for rent. It’s not clear how that might help competition. A platform like this could give smaller outfits a chance to grow quickly, but might also reduce the diversity of apps and services.

It may be helpful for travellers, though. Those fewer apps could make it easier to find a ride, and you might have a better sense of your available choices in a given area. Of course, this also presumes rivals don’t follow suit — it may get confusing if you have to guess which app controls the scooter you want to use.