Saturday, June 8, 2019 / by Tyler Anderson
As you may have noticed, there are some new ride-share companies in town. Lime, Spin, Jump (owned by Uber), and Bird are all companies that have been awarded contracts to operate their electric scooters within certain restrictions that the City of Tampa has already outlined (map outlined below). Each company is currently allowed 600 scooters, bringing the grand total to 2,400 scooters operating throughout downtown Tampa.
The premise is simple: Download the app for the scooter company of your choice, find the available scooters on the app’s map, and you will be able to rent the electric scooters for $1, plus the 29 cents per minute to use. There are no formal stations, you can leave the scooters anywhere you want, assuming you are within the acceptable boundaries. The companies rely on people who roam the streets looking to charge the scooters at night for $5-$20 per scooter. These companies also have salaried employees who pick up these scooters and return them for charging, and complete repairs as needed. The Clearwater City Council members initially put a ban on the scooters, while St. Petersburg has shown interest in the scooters but has also expressed the demand for the safety of their citizens.
However, on June 18th Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill (HB 453) making electric-powered scooters officially legal in Florida effective immediately. Cities will have the ultimate flexibility over how they implement these programs, but one of the bill’s biggest changes is that it allows the scooters to operate in bike lanes rather than only allowing them on sidewalks, which was previously the case.
While the transportation systems in the Tampa Bay region continue to be an issue most people feel this new mode of public transportation is a step in the right direction for all the communities.