City Proposing New Restrictions on Dockless Scooters

The city is clearly crazy about those electric dock-less scooters, but city officials are putting together several strict rules to govern their use, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

There are currently five companies operating the dock-less scooters in San Antonio, with two more in requesting approval.  There are 12,000 licensed dock-less scooters in the city, with roughly 6500 in use at any given time.

John Jacks, who heads the city's Inner City Development and Operations Department, says that's enough, at least for now, and future permits will be frozen.

The philosophy behind the scooters is that a rider grabs one on the street when he or she wants it, unlocks it with an app, and rides it until arriving at a destination, where the scooter is simply left for the next person to use.

Jacks says that has led to a proliferation of scooters lying on city sidewalks and rights of way, so designated parking spaces will be created.

"We will create parking spaces, or corrals, for people to leave the scooters in a place where we have designated as an appropriate place to park scooters," he said.

The city is also looking at restricting scooter use to between 5AM and 10PM, and potentially restricting where they can be driven.

"At the end of this pilot program, do we need to prohibit them on sidewalks."

He says four 'scooter enforcement officers' to monitor the new rules, and he says SAPD officers have begun enforcing rules, for example, limiting scooters to one passenger, and setting minimum age limits for scooter users.

acks says there have been roughly 1.2 million total rides on e-scooters since they began appearing on city streets last summer, but some of them did not end well.

"As of last week we had 78 reported injuries," he said.  "Some of those required transportation to a hospital, and some of them did not."

Jacks is also working with the scooter companies to restrict their use in 'prohibited areas,' like on Alamo Plaza, in parks, and on the Riverwalk.  He said the GPS technology on the scooters will allow companies to physically make them unable to operate in those areas.  If a rider attempts to leave a scooter, for example, on Alamo Plaza, the scooter will refuse to shut off until it is removed from the prohibited area, meaning the rider will continue to pay for it.

Jacks said officials are also looking at speed limits for scooters, as well as restrictions covering when the companies must pick them up for recharging and put them back onto city streets.

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