In case you missed it, the scooters are back. After a two-week halt, Denver has approved permits for eight "micro-mobility" companies under a new dockless pilot program.
Lime, known by their green and white scooters, was the first to re-launch.
When the scooters first came for Denver earlier in the summer, they were everywhere. Sometimes, literally everywhere — parking garages, streets, people’s homes. That’s one of the reasons the city called a halt on all things dockless for a little while.
"You know, this was about when these scooters were dropped here, it wasn’t structured for how they could operate, and we just wanted to have more of a controlled plan, where we could have these things, we could test them out, and we can see if it helps us meet our mobility goals as well," said Heather Burke, spokeswoman for Denver’s Department of Public Works.Michael Sakas/CPR News
The keyword, here, is "dropped." Scooter companies like Lime and Bird have almost adopted an official policy of showing up first and asking questions later. As residents had time to play around with the scooters, concerns started to crop up.
"Before when the scooters were here, a lot of people were just concerned about the placement, where they were riding," Burke said. "With this program, it’s really more controlled where they’re going to be."
With Lime already back on the streets, competitor Bird is expected to re-deploy scooters any day now. Other operators like Lyft and Jump plan to deploy shareable electric bikes in the coming months. By early 2019, Denver anticipates nearly 3,000 dockless scooters or bikes on the streets.
This time, though, riders will have to obey some rules. And operators will too.
"When we first deployed scooters, we were under the impression that things were moving forward," said Sam Sadle, who leads Denver government relations for Lime. "Clearly the city wanted to move in a different direction, and so when we sat down with them and discussed next steps, we agreed with them that we would take a pause and come back under a formal permit program."
And it seems like Bird and Lime were successful in getting riders hooked early.
"I was about to use it, right, I got my Bird account, but then all the Birds promptly disappeared," said Kara Bard, who works on the 16th street mall. "I’m pretty excited for them to come back."
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