Providence wants $1 a day for every electric scooter used in the city

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After dozens of dockless rental scooters turned up on the sidewalks of Providence, the city has created a policy for utilizing the scooters on a pilot basis.

Back in July, Bird Rides Inc., a California-based company, dropped off the scooters without warning on sidewalks across the capital city.

According to the policy, Providence is conducting a pilot program for the placement and operation of the electric scooters, which began on Aug. 17.

This policy is not only limited to Bird Rides Inc. The city says any company interested in joining the pilot program can send an application to the Department of Public Works. Each applicant will be given a permit for a specific number of active scooters, at the discretion of the city.

The policy states that only 300 active scooters are permitted across the city at one time and participating companies will have to pay the Department of Public Works $1 per day for each active scooter.

There are several requirements each company has to meet in making sure their scooters align with the city’s policy:

  • The scooters must have “tip over” technology alerting company staff when they are not parked upright.
  • The company must provide a general insurance policy to the city from an approved insurer for no less than $1 million.
  • The company must place a 24/7 contact phone number on each of the scooters, connecting the user to local management and operations teams.
  • The company must agree to share all data from the scooters with the city, including location services and use patterns. The city said this does not apply to phone apps used to locate nearby scooters.
  • The company will submit a plan describing how the scooters will be maintained.
  • Scooters will be made unavailable for use between sunset to sunrise.
  • Scooters will be allowed to operate on roadways, bike lanes, bike paths or multi-use trails or sidewalks. If utilized on a roadway or in a bike lane, the user must adhere to the rules of the road.
  • Scooters must not be parked in a way that “impedes pedestrian travel” or blocks fire hydrants, handicapped curb ramps or other public utilities.

Bird Rides Inc. has not yet returned a request for comment, though they did pull the scooters from the city that were initially dropped off several weeks ago.

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