E-Scooters approved to dash around downtown Phoenix

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Phoenix City Council granted an extension on the E-Scooter Pilot Program for an additional year at a meeting March 17.

This decision allows the two vendors, Razor and Spin, to continue supplying scooter transportation on the streets of downtown Phoenix. Both companies work closely with the city to distribute their services daily.

“The 12-month extension will allow staff to evaluate opportunities for a future micro-mobility program that may include scooters, electric bikes, and pedal bikes,” Street Transportation Director Briiana Velez said.

Under this program, Razor can deploy 300 fleets a day, and Spin can deploy 900. Due to low ridership from the COVID-19 pandemic, Razor only saw an average of 150 fleets deployed a day, and Spin saw an average of 170 fleets deployed.

As of now, there are boundary limits set for where these scooters can go. The scooters can be found between McDowell Road and Buckeye Road and can go from Seventh Avenue to Seventh Street.

A big concern raised over the E-Scooter Program is safety and how violations would be enforced for the scooters. “The top three violations are improper scooter parking, abandoned scooters, and riding on the sidewalk,” Velez said.

There are about 400 designated places to park scooters. Riders are required to park in one of the spots with white posts with reflective yellow scooter decals. Abandoned scooters that are not properly parked may result in fees for the two vendors. The riders must also stay on the street or bike lane for the entire duration of their commute.

Another issue that council members brought up was if scooters should be going in the same direction with the flow of traffic. “When I was coming downtown today, someone was riding against traffic and it was a little scary. I was not sure if that was safe,” Councilwoman Debra Stark said.

The rules of riding the scooters are listed on the pilot program website. City police can enforce these rules and cite individuals that are not abiding by the rules. Stark suggested making sure that people using the scooters had proper instructions from the vendors.

The E-Scooter Pilot Program was first introduced and approved in September 2019. Once it was approved, the initial pilot program launched Sept. 16, 2019 until March 16, 2020. The second phase of the pilot program was scheduled to begin immediately after the initial phase but was halted until October 2020 due to the pandemic. The second phase lasted from October 2020 until March 31, 2021, and the third phase began immediately after.

Upon the start of the third phase, the city of Phoenix voted on a potential fee increase for the vendors who are wanting their scooters around the city. The city council voted on the potential fee increase April 21, which includes an increase in fees for the permit, surcharge, and relocation fees. The application fee is $500 and will not have an increase. The vote passed, meaning the permit fees will see a $2,500 increase, surcharge fees will get a 15 cents increase, and relocation fees will see a $20 increase.

At the end of the third phase, council members will meet again to discuss further plans for e-scooters in the city. For more information on e-scooters, visit the city of Phoenix’s website.