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E-scooter pilot program launches in Tampa

City officials postponed the launch of the pilot program several times.

TAMPA, Fla. — The city of Tampa launched its electric scooter pilot program over the weekend.

City officials had postponed the launch of the pilot program several times.

The premise is easy: People in Tampa will be able to rent the electric scooters for $1, plus the 10-15 cents per minute to use. The startup companies rely on people who roam the streets looking to charge the scooters at night for $5-$20 per scooter.

Tampa will have four vendors provide about 2,400 scooters. Right now, 170 scooters are available. 

Residents like Doug Ruth are thrilled to have the transportation option. 

“Been waiting for them," he said." I'm excited. It’s nice to get around quick when you don’t have to bring the bike downstairs from the condo. I’m looking forward to it. We’re going to go ride to lunch.”

This is just the beginning of the year-long trial as Jean Duncan, the director of transportation for the city of Tampa, explains.

 “Time will tell whether this was a good decision. We’re hoping it is because we do think that people want a different choice besides bicycling and walking to get a short distance to where they are going.”

Scooters are currently not allowed on Bayshore Blvd, the Riverwalk, or on 7th Avenue in Ybor City. And riders are only supposed to use the sidewalk, for now. 

“The House and the Senate both passed bills that basically give the scooters the same rights as bicycles. We expect that to be approved by the governor soon.” 

If and when HB 453 is approved, scooters will be able to use the bike lane and some streets.

The four vendors selected for the program are:

  • Skinny Labs Inc., known as Spin;
  • Social Bicycles LLC, known as JUMP;
  • Bird Rides Inc.
  • Neutron Holdings Inc., known as Lime.

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