By Jonathan Josephs
Business reporter, BBC News

Publishedduration15 hours agoshareSharenocloseShare pagelinkCopy linkAbout sharingimage copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionMore people are taking e-scooter trips, data suggests

Exactly how green and how profitable are the electric bikes and scooters that millions of us are now renting?

Those were two of the big questions hanging over the industry as 2020 began.

Despite the huge disruption the pandemic brought, the biggest player in the market, Lime, now says it is profitable for the first time.

"There are some markets where we're hitting all-time high ridership," Lime chief executive Wayne Ting says.

Those include Seoul, London and Salt Lake City. For example, in London each vehicle is now being used an average of 4.5 times a day instead of about twice a day.

But there has also been some aggressive cost-cutting. As a privately-owned company, Lime won't disclose detailed numbers.

The year began with 14% of the workforce being cut – that's 100 jobs – and a retreat from 12 cities as the company ran short on cash.