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Tampa postpones start of electric scooter pilot program

Around 1,800 scooters are expected to become available to the public in April or May.
Credit: Robyn Beck, Getty Images
Young women ride shared electric scooters on July 13, 2018, in Santa Monica, California.

TAMPA, Fla. — The city of Tampa has postponed the start of a dockless motorized scooter pilot program to April.

Around 1,800 scooters were initially expected to be available to the public this month, according to Tampa Director of Transportation Jean Duncan.

However, city officials reissued new applications with adjustments to the initial plan.

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

Monday is the deadline for vendors to submit applications to the city, Duncan said. The city is expected to select three vendors for the pilot program on March 21. Each vendor will have up to 600 scooters.

While the program is scheduled to start April 1 with crews installing parking corrals for the scooters. Duncan said she anticipates riders to start using them in May.

The city plans for the scooters to be available just south of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between about Armenia Avenue and North 40th Street, Duncan said.

Tampa will not make money from the pilot program, Duncan said. However, the program applications ask for the vendors to put forth a potential revenue-sharing program with the city moving forward.

Duncan said if the pilot program is successful, the city plans to put in a request to propose a permanent scooter program.

The pilot program will run in conjunction with the existing Coast Bike Program.

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