Second company wants to bring electric scooters to Providence

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Less than two months after Bird electric scooters appeared in Providence, only to be quickly removed, a second company is hoping to bring its dockless, electric scooter share program to Providence.

Lime, a San Francisco-based company, has submitted an application to the city, according to city spokesperson Victor Morente.

The city enacted a pilot program and policy on Aug. 17 that would allow companies to operate the electric scooters with city permission if they pay Providence $1 per scooter, per day.

The policy caps the total number of scooters in the city at 300 and requires the company to remove the scooters from the streets between sunset and sunrise.

Unlike bike-share programs that use docking stations, users who rent electric scooters from companies like Bird and Lime just leave them wherever they finish their ride, allowing the next rider to find a scooter using GPS location on an app.

The city policy also stipulates that parked scooters cannot obstruct crosswalks, handicap curb ramps, fire hydrants, building exits or public utilities. Companies can be fined for violating the rules.

Bird has not submitted an application to operate in Providence, according to Morente, but a spokesperson for the company said it will be submitting an application soon. The company removed its bikes from city streets and sidewalks Aug. 17, the day the new policy went into effect.

“We look forward to returning to Providence very soon,” a Bird spokesperson said in an email. “We believe e-scooters are great for cities looking to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions, and it is encouraging to see Providence embrace this affordable, last-mile transportation solution for its residents.”

The new city policy on scooters will be introduced at Thursday’s Providence City Council meeting, but the council does not need to approve the program before scooters arrive.

Council President David Salvatore said the city council would hold a meeting at a later date to discuss the scooters and could choose to draft an ordinance if necessary. He said he was currently reviewing the program and hasn’t formed an opinion yet on the scooters.

Morente said Lime’s application is currently under review. The company has not yet responded to a request for comment, but is advertising online for “Lime Juicers” in Providence, who would take scooters home at night to charge them and then put them back outside in the morning.

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