If you happen to see a man carrying two lime scooters over his shoulders, shoving them into a car boot and driving away into the night don’t be alarmed.
Mark Pearce from Wellington is a registered lime juicer, a fairly new profession in New Zealand involving ‘harvesting’ or gathering lime e-scooters and ‘juicing’ or charging them at home.
Since the controversial transportation devices arrived in the country juicers everywhere have joined what Mr Pearce calls ‘the chase’, a highly competitive and exhilarating job finding and collecting lime scooters from the streets before other juicers do.
The scooters require about three to four hours of charging overnight before they are taken back to the streets for public use the next morning.
“They tend to start poppin’ up in the arvo after people have used them so you go to the App and you’ll see a little flag pop up with a dollar amount next to it and that’s the amount you’ll be paid for harvesting that scooter.
“Then the race is on and it becomes a little bit of a race for the juicers out there to get to it.”
Juicers earn $7 per scooter, with a cap of 10 at any one time before they can take go out and collect more. After juicing consecutively for five days the cap increases to 20.
It’s proving a fun activity for the kids during the school holidays, Mr Pearce said.
“The main reason we’ve done it as a family is we’ve got kids and while they can’t sign up to be juicers they can help out so we’re treating it as a bit of a family thing to make a bit of money for our 14-year-old and for the family in general.
“The biggest day we’ve had might be about $100 before tax, but if we make $20 to $30 per day we’re pretty happy.”
Lime scooters have been a somewhat controversial addition to transport options in several New Zealand cities.
Some people love the buzz of picking one up and riding along the footpath to appointments. Others have been run into by scooter riders and see them as a curse.
Lime juicers are often met with raised eyebrows and confused looks while on the job too, with Mr Pearce having to explain on more than one occasion why he was taking them home.