Scott Ball / Rivard Report
California-based scooter-share company Lime announced Wednesday the opening of a new North San Antonio facility that will create about 50 local jobs.
The 17,000-square-foot facility is located off Wurzbach Parkway and Wetmore Road near McAllister Park. The facility will serve as a regional repair center that services scooters deployed to Austin, Corpus Christi, and San Antonio. Eventually, the company could expand to other markets in the Central and South Texas region.
“This is Lime’s investment in and commitment to the city of San Antonio,” Lime General Manager Erica Liu said Wednesday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the new facility.
The facility will be Lime’s second in San Antonio. The company also stores its scooters in a downtown warehouse. The regional repair center also will serve as an additional operations hub. Staff members will include mechanics and an operations crew.
Lime has a regional repair center in Austin, which will become the company’s new training facility, shifting all repair business to San Antonio. Although Houston does not yet have dockless, electric scooters on its streets, Lime has an operations facility there that also is a key cog in its Southern U.S. operations, said Sam Sadle, senior director of government relations and strategic development.
Lime is one of several companies bidding for one of three spots in the City of San Antonio’s dockless vehicle program. A City Council vote is set for October. Standing up a repair center in San Antonio was not contingent on the company being granted one of the three contracts, Sadle said, but Lime is confident in its chances and the center won’t disappear if Lime isn’t one of the companies chosen.
“We’ve put forth what we think is our best proposal for the City, and we look to forward to continuing to partner with them,” he said. “Obviously, the City will make its decision in due course, and we’ll be here at this repair center going forward.”
Employing full-time workers is a departure from the model Lime and its fiercest competitor, Bird, employed when they first launched in San Antonio last summer. The companies were known for hiring contract, or gig, workers to collect scooters at night, charge them, and then deploy them in the mornings. Lime, especially, has been growing its in-house operations team and appears to be relying less on gig workers.
Its decision to open a regional facility in San Antonio could be a signal the San Mateo, California-based company is gearing up for further Texas expansion. Just as rideshare eventually became a service available in more than just major metropolitan areas, micromobility also could find its way to smaller population centers in Texas, such as College Station, Laredo, and the Rio Grande Valley.
David Heard, who leads San Antonio’s tech-focused trade organization Tech Bloc, said micromobility is another facet of making San Antonio more attractive to techies who prefer cities that can offer modern and urban lifestyle options.
“This is a generation driven by more than just the car, pun intended,” Heard said. “Micromobility is a part of connecting our downtown, adding vibrancy to our urban core, and, we think, a big part of our mission to make San Antonio competitive for next-generation jobs.”