Micromobility news you need to know this week

January 10, 2020

  • MU and the City of Columbia are collaborating to provide a “shared active transportation” in the city and on campus. Companies who are interested can send their proposals to the City Council and MU until Jan.24. The company must have no more than 500 scooters unless otherwise specified by MU or the City of Columbia. There also is a minimum of 150 scooters on MU’s campus initially.

  • Loudoun County is currently seeking operators to provide shared mobility devices during its dockless pilot program. Interested operators are required to sign an agreement with the county and obtain a permit for their fleets, including paying a one-time fee for each device type. Permit applications will be accepted until the maximum of 1,000 device limit has been reached.

  • A state Senate study committee has released a report recently on how to regulate the electric scooters zooming on city streets and college campuses in Georgia. The report is expected to become the starting point for a bill lawmakers will consider during the 2020 session that kicks off Jan. 13.

  • It’s been four months since Bird and Razor electric scooters touched down in Tucson. However, the issue of safety, parking, and sidewalk riding seem to continue despite the apps directing riders to do otherwise. With only two months left in the trial period, if improvements are made the electric scooters could become a Tucson staple.

  • After three months, Phoenix’s electric scooter pilot program is showing promise and challenges. The downtown program averages 4,435 trips per week. The average trip is one mile and takes seven minutes. So far, Phoenix reported a total of 242 violations. In three months, the City Council will evaluate the pilot program and decide whether to keep it.

  • It was reported that at least 45 shared e-scooters currently lie on the bottom of Thermaikos Gulf. Authorities in Thessaloniki, a seaside city in northern Greece, are taking action to fish up these scooters. It is not known why the scooters ended up in the water, but officials said they would launch a public-awareness campaign in a bid to curb the phenomenon.

  • The ban on riding e-scooters on footpaths will be extended to all motorised personal mobility devices (PMDs) under amendments to the Active Mobility Act introduced by Singapore Parliament on Monday (Jan 6). Under the amendments, underaged riders caught using such devices on shared paths without adult supervision would face fines of up to S$1,000 or a jail term of up to three months, or both, for a first offence. Repeat offenders face fines of up to S$2,000 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

  • The number of accidents involving e-scooters has dropped by 30 per cent since a ban on using the devices on footpaths came into effect on Nov 5 last year in Singapore. A total of 27 errant e-scooter riders have been nabbed since the start of this year.

  • The San Marcos City Council will consider a ban on motorized scooters during Tuesday’s regular meeting. The council voted 5-1 to approve Ordinance 2019-46 during Dec. 17’s meeting. The ban would make it an offense to use a motorized scooter. However, it would not apply to mopeds, motorcycles, motor-assisted bicycle or motorized mobility devices designed for transportation of persons with physical disabilities.

  • The city of Charlotte is piloting designated e-scooter corrals. The purpose of the effort is to offer parking spots off sidewalks for riders to park their scooters after they’re done with it. Where possible, city transit workers are adding scooter corrals near existing bike racks.
  • Electric scooter operators are still waiting on a green light from authorities before they launch UAE-wide businesses. For now, they are testing market possibilities for this new-age mobility in Abu Dhabi. In November, Lime started operating a fleet of 400 scooters in the city with an average ride around 20 minutes and 60% of trips being under 10 km.

  • In an article titled” These 10 Berlin fast-growing tech startups deserve your attention in 2020”, Tier Mobility and Circ were listed. Founded in 2016, Tier has witnessed a growth of 381% as of June last year while Circ has gained 251% growth as of December 2019.
  • Lime, which has operated scooter rental business in Charlottesville for a year, will stop operations and remove its fleet from the city in 2020, citing costs of recently imposed regulations on e-scooters and e-bicycles. The new regulations approved by the council would require the company to field a minimum of 100 scooters and 50 e-bikes. If Lime wanted to increase scooters from that count, it would also need to add an additional bike. But operating bicycles is not cost-effective for Lime.

  • Blue Duck, a San Antonio-based scooter rental company, just began a six-month pilot program with a fleet of 125 light-blue scooters operating in Edinburg this week. Blue Duck charges a $5 deposit fee when signing up, $1 to unlock and a quarter every minute after. Essentially, an hour on a scooter will cost $16.

  • Lime says that its users in Budapest have traveled some 1.3 million kilometers since the serviceʼs Hungarian launch in July. The companyʼs e-scooter sharing service was used primarily by locals, with more than 82% of users living in the capital. Some 70% of Lime trips took place on the Pest side of the capital, with Andrássy út and Kiskörút being the busiest areas in terms of Lime traffic.

  • The scooter pilot program adopted by the City of Tucson cleared its last hurdle. Bird and Razor passed part of the test by erecting a geo-fence, which stopped the scooter from mixing with pedestrians and visitors. The companies are also offer discounts and free helmets to users. They also require riders to issue a photo of where the scooters are left and those who leave them on sidewalks and other prohibited places, will lose riding privileges.

  • The San Francisco City Attorney sent a cease-and-desist order Tuesday to the e-scooter company Go X that’s parked vehicles along Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero, using fake permits with the city seal. He ordered the company to shut down by Jan. 18. The company owes $233,800 in unpaid fines, after racking up 540 citations in 10 months for operating without a permit and carelessly stashing e-scooters in the public right of way, according to the city.

  • In the first nationwide analysis of the health harm of e-scooters, a new UC San Francisco study reports that the number of injuries and hospital admissions has soared in the United States. Injuries climbed by 222% between 2014 and 2018.  Nearly 40,000 injuries occurred from e-scooters in the U.S. between 2014 and 2018. The most common injuries were fractures (27%), contusions and abrasions (23%), and lacerations (14%), they found.
  • Edina City Council members voted Tuesday night to end a cooperative agreement with Lime that’s been running the app-based ride-share service in the city since 2018, citing safety as a primary concern. However, it’s not a ban, and the council left the door open for the scooters to return someday.

  • Lime has announced a new ‘Group Ride’feature in the UAE, which allows users to unlock five scooters on one account. To access the feature, riders tap the Group Ride icon on the Lime map screen and then follow the step-by-step guide. Guest rides can be started and/or ended at any time from the hosting account.

  • Lime is laying off 14% of its workforce, or around 100 employees and exiting 12 markets where miciromobility has evolved more slowly, according to a report in Axios. The cities where Lime will be shutting down operations include Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Antonio in the US; Linz, Austria in Europe; and Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Lima, Puerto Vallarta, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo in Latin America.

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