A second operator of those 'dockless scooters' which have taken downtown by storm is set to announce today that it is beginning operations in San Antonio, as City Hall gears up for what is likely to be a brusing battle to regulate the new transportation technology, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Lime, which is based in San Mateo California, says it will join Los Angeles based Bird in operating scooters downtown.
It will follow the same business model as Bird, which currently has 150 scooters in the downtown areas.
A rider who has signed up on the Lime app with a credit card will be able to grab a scooter wherever it has been left by the previous users. For a $1 unlocking fee and 15 cents per minute, the user can take the scooter anyplace, and simply leave it at the destination for somebody else to pick up.
In order to avoid the problem of scooters being parked improperly Lime will encourage riders to participate in a game called 'Parked or Not' by sending in photos of scooters which have been improperly parked to encourage responsible parking of scooters.
As Lime begins operations in San Antonio, the City has begun a survey of users of dockless vehicles as the first step toward coming up with regulations covering the new technology.
The City will have to deal with issues like where scooters can and cannot be driven, and whether they are bicycles, motorcycles, or enhanced pedestrian transportation, like a motorized wheelchair. That will determine whether the scooters can be driven on sidewalks, on bike lanes, or in the main lanes of streets, and whether they can be operated on freeways.
The City will have also have to determine where liability lies for scooter related accidents. Lawyers have expressed concerns that scooter users could end up with large medical bills because there is no framework to involve an operator's private insurance in scooter operation.
Many cities have struggled with regulation, with some going so far as to ban the use of scooters on city streets until regulations can be agreed upon.