Pensacola’s Veo electric scooters might be here to stay
Pensacola is looking to make the electric scooter program permanent, but only with electric scooters that allow the driver to sit down.
Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson is asking the city council this week to approve a one-month contract extension with Veo, an electric scooter company that offers sit-down electric scooters.
The city currently has contracts with two e-scooter suppliers that are due to expire at the end of the month. Bird, the other electric scooter company, only offers stand-up scooters in Pensacola.
The mayor’s proposal is to let the contract with Bird expire at the end of the month and use the one-month extension with Veo to negotiate a long-term contract with that company making the electric scooter pilot program permanent.
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Pensacola launched its year-long pilot program with electric scooters in July 2021 with Bird. Veo began offering services in the city as a second provider in January. The program was supposed to end in July, but the city council extended the program until the end of August to allow the city to collect data after the new parking rules took effect.
Deputy City Administrator David Forte told city council on Monday that city staff recommend continuing with Veo because they have seen better compliance with rules on sit-down scooters and less “joyriding.”
“The request is not to discriminate against one vendor or the other,” Forte said. “It’s just the device itself.”
Robinson agreed and said people were more used to the seated option.
“It looks like a bicycle or a moped scooter,” Robinson said. “It looks like that, and so I think there’s a lot of (familiarity) there. But I also think anecdotally, it was less likely (to have) some of our problematic issues that we had with the constituency inappropriately.”
City staff also told the council that in June the Pensacola Police Department began increasing enforcement against people who violate traffic rules on scooters and so far have nine citations. have been issued.
Complaints about scooters on the city’s 311 line have declined since January, although there was a spike in complaints during the summer months. In total, the city received 111 complaints about the scooters.
The scooters themselves continue to see a high usage rate.
Robinson said as the city is negotiating with Veo for a new contract, it will also look to add up to 25 additional “parking corrals” across the city.
As part of a permanent scooter program, changes will be made, such as the company requiring users to end their rides in designated parking areas, moving the cut-off time for rides to 11 p.m. instead of midnight, making the license fee an annual fee for the provider. , charging a municipal fee for each ride and implementing a system where passengers will be fined by the company for improperly parking scooters.
The city council is due to debate and vote on the extension on Thursday.
Robinson said at his Monday morning press conference that he believes the e-scooter program offers a way to get people downtown without the need for traditional parking.
“If people from outside the area, nearby like in East Hill or North Hill, if they want to ride a scooter, that allows us to have fewer cars,” Robinson said. “So people further and further away can use their car. But I think that’s our aim and our goal with scooters is how to stop more cars from coming into the city centre.”
Jim Little can be reached at [email protected] and 850-208-9827.