The City Commission voted to extend the e-scooter pilot program at its September 25th meeting. The program began on July 15 and is scheduled to end on October 15th. Staff recommended extending the program six more months to test parking options and incorporate additional e-share transportation options.
The e-scooter pilot program has involved five vendors: Bird, Gotcha, Lime, Spin, and Veoride. However, staff notified commissioners at the meeting that Gotchas has pulled out of the pilot.
According to the meeting agenda, from July 15 to September 16, the vendors have recorded about 60,000 rides with 28,000 unique riders.
An average ride in the program has lasted 18 minutes and 1.36 miles. The most popular trip locations have been Cascades Park, Collegetown, and Downtown. The e-scooters have also been present around Thomasville Road, Pensacola Street, and Midtown.
To be financially viable, vendors must average two rides per day. According to the agenda, many of the vendors in the program have maintained that average, suggesting that e-share transportation could thrive in the City.
However, throughout the pilot program, problems have arisen, including “a nominal number of crashes, injuries, and citations reported to TPD,” as noted in the agenda.
In Cascades Park and Lake Ella, reckless riding resulted in conflicts between scooters and pedestrians. This led staff to implement “slow-ride” zones of 6 miles per hour, which appeared to resolve the issue.
There were also initial complications with geofencing. E-scooters are not permitted on any local college campuses. At one point, a geofence was ineffective and allowed scooters onto the FSU campus. This issue has since been resolved.
Another main issue was improper parking of scooters. According to the agenda, improper parking often led to blocked sidewalks, and an “abandoned appearance of e-scooters” impaired public spaces’ aesthetics. If the program is extended another six months, staff plans to designate scooter parking locations.
Additionally, if the program continues, staff recommends limiting the number of vendors. According to the agenda, working with fewer vendors will make it easier for staff to monitor vendor compliance and resolve issues.
Staff also plans to clarify towing policies, require vendors to restage scooters each morning, and further ensure that scooters do not enter local college campuses and other restricted areas.
If the Commission approves the six-month extension, the study will continue to March 15th, allowing staff to further explore how micro-mobility options affect the City. If the extension is not approved, the pilot program will sunset and the vendors will remove all e-scooters from the City.