Lexington officials recently announced they might introduce rentable electric scooters on the city’s streets in the near future.
Leaders at the city’s Metropolitan Planning Organization say they’ve been working closely with the bike-sharing company Spin to gradually roll out dockless e-scooters. If all goes according to plan, Spin’s e-scooters could be on Lexington’s streets by the spring of 2019.
Since the end of June, Lexington allowed Spin to introduce 300 shareable bikes into the city as part of a one-year pilot program. After the trial period is finished, safety experts will review traffic data and determine whether or not to open the city to more bike-sharing companies.
Adding e-scooters to this pilot program wasn’t a part of Spin’s original deal with Lexington. Spin executives asked Lexington for permission to add e-scooters about one month after the company introduced bikes into the city.
Although this plan remains a work in progress, city leaders say they won’t allow Spin to put more than 500 e-scooters in the city. Just like the rollout of the rentable bikes, Spin will introduce these e-scooters gradually.
As e-scooters have grown in popularity across the US, city governments have struggled to combat the numerous safety and legal issues they present. Lexington is well aware of the challenges of rentable e-scooters after a highly publicized incident in nearby Louisville.
In July of 2018, the bike-sharing company Bird sent a fleet of its e-scooters into Louisville’s downtown, Highlands, and NuLu areas without asking permission from local authorities. In response to Bird’s action, Louisville forced the company to remove all e-scooters less than two days after the company placed them on the streets.
Today, Louisville is working closely with Bird to introduce the company’s e-scooters into the city on a temporary basis. Bird’s e-scooters are expected to remain in Kentucky’s largest city until October 8th.
After hearing about the e-scooter issue in Louisville, Lexington lawmakers put forward a moratorium on e-scooters. Under this moratorium, Spin would be the only company allowed to introduce e-scooters into Lexington after April of 2019.
Lexington’s University of Kentucky (UK) has also entered into an agreement with Spin to test shareable bikes on its campus. There’s no word yet whether UK is working on adding e-scooters to this plan.
Recent data suggests people in Lexington enjoy Spin’s rentable bike program. Between June 25th and July 31st, the company attracted over 5,600 app users in Lexington and almost 2,000 at UK. Most people who use Spin bikes take them in-between Lextran’s scheduled bus routes.
Customers can access Spin’s bikes using a credit card and the company’s mobile app. The current rate for using a Spin bike is $1 per hour. City officials expect customers will access e-scooters in a similar fashion.
Founded in San Francisco in 2016, Spin now has 30,000 vehicles in 19 cities and numerous campuses across the USA. To find out more about Spin, check out the company’s official website at https://www.spin.pm/.