Hamburg and Saint Petersburg are twinned towns, but family members do not always look alike – especially in terms of public transportation. Our FINK authors visited Saint Petersburg and discovered unique professions in both cities.

Since June 2019 there is a new way to move through Hamburg and other big cities in Germany. E-Scooter from different companies can easily be rented by mobile device. They drive up to 20 km/h – as long as the battery is charged. To ensure that, people that are called “juicer”, charge the batteries during nighttime.

“The backbone of Lime”

Christian Krakau-Louis is 39 years old and is a juicer since the start of Lime-Scooters in Hamburg.

“I’ve heard about Lime from a friend. Then I had a look on their website and applied for it – just for fun. I was probably one of the first applicants as a charger in Hamburg. That’s why I got an invitation via email. I showed up in a rented office where people from the company showed me a powerpoint. They asked me: ‘How many scooter can you charge by night?’ I said ‘maybe ten’. Then they gave me ten chargers and I was good to go. It was an euphoric atmosphere.

There are three types of juicers. For example the student, who charges one to four scooters in the kitchen of his apartment. You have to see individually, if that makes you happy.

Then there are people like me who wouldn’t stand up early for nine euros an hours. Also I’m limited with my capacity and don’t rent extra infrastructure. Meanwhile I have more chargers and can charge up to 20 scooters a night.

And then there is the backbone of lime, the sub-employees, who can do hundred and more scooters continuously. They have warehouses and transporters for it. And they are necessary for Lime, otherwise there could be gaps of operational scooters.

“I am a night owl”

During the day I have an IT-job and I have a family. So it differs how often I do a tour. You can see the scooters on a map on your mobile device, the state of charge, until when they have to be charged and dropped off. And directly how much you would get for it.


Mobile Lime App shows empty e-scooters on a map
Juicers get unlocked and use the normal Lime App to find empty scooters. Picture: Nikolas Baumgartner

I live in the center of Hamburg. Depending on where the empty scooters are, I walk or choose my electric car and additionally a small trailer. Usually I pick them up in the evening and charge during the night. 9 pm is kind of the magic time, when the offers pop up. After a sunny day or on Sundays there are a lot. And if they are still half-full, they can be charged in an hour and I can do a second tour.

Sometimes you meet other juicers and talk to them on a friendly base. In the rest of the time, being a juicer is kind of a lonely thing – nearly meditative. I am a night owl. I like to cruise through the empty city at three a.m. and enjoy the silence. There is nobody on the street and not even the Michaelis Church is illuminated. It’s kind of a parallel world, the brownie world, when the suppliers for bakeries are on their tour. And the service providers of Deutsche Bahn clean the stairs to the plattforms.

“A little bit addicted”

Luckily I have a cellar and can bring the scooters down by the elevator. It’s annoying that I have to carry them through a few doors but luckily not up some stairs.

It is magical. When I drop off the scooters in the morning, I get the payment the same evening. And that makes you somehow addicted because it’s an instant gratification. If I do one more, I get four euros more. If I do five more, it’s 20 euros. And that’s really fun. Sure, at the end you have some extra costs like taxes and electricity but that comes later and doesn’t count for the moment.


E-scooters parked on the pavement
Tousands of rentable e-scooters from different providers exist in the center of Hamburg. Picture: Nikolas Baumgartner

E-Scooters have advantages: There ist no clocking and you don’t have problems with parking. But the cost is not for everyone and unfortunately there are relatively many traffic violations compared to other forms of transport. It’s horrible that scooter drivers but also bikers often use the pavement or cross red traffic lights. Lime tries everything, for example free driving workshops, but the traffic violations remain.”