E-Scooters pushed back a month, businesses preparing

E-Scooters in Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - One day till the weekend means one day till people begin pouring in downtown.

Pueblo Vida Brewery sits within the heart of the hustle, seeing hundreds of customers who walk, drive, or bike to their front door.

Within a month, two more wheels will make their way to the area.

"It could be huge if everything works out as promised.”

Andrew Owens is the Brewery Operations Manager at Pueblo Vida and sat in on the Downtown Business Partnership transportation forum Thursday.

A part of the presentation focused on the E-Scooter Program, allowing community members and businesses owners to learn how the scooter companies like Lime, Bird, and Razor could bring some pros and cons.

“Getting more people to access more businesses downtown is only good for small business,” said Owens. "But, through the grape vine, I’ve heard that safety with scooters and how they’re parked, where they’re left at night, disabled people having accessibility to your business wasn’t necessarily great in other cities.”

The City of Tucson Department of Transportation said they had been in talks with nine different scooter companies for about a year. As of now, about four have remained in constant contact. Back in the Spring, the tentative start date was July 1. Now, it’s taking a little longer.

So far-- Lime, Bird, and Razor have confirmed they are submitting applications that are due on Monday.

One big concern that's been brought up since the start? Clutter.

Since there are no restrictions on hours of operation—people fear they’ll be left anywhere at all hours.

Andy Bemis, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Coordinator with the Department of Transportation said some companies choose to round up their scooters at night, charge them, and then re-stage them in the morning. Which could help with some clutter. Other companies are continuously rotating them in and out.

That clutter is something the city says will be monitored.

"Either the city can go address that, move the scooters, or impound the scooters if necessary. Or our preference is we notify the operators and they have a 2 hr response time when they’re supposed to go move the scooters themselves.” said Bemis.

The scooters, that will be treated like bikes, are to be enforced by either Park Tucson or TPD. But, like everything else, an exact plan is still in the works.

"The scooters are meant to operate where bikes can operate in bike lanes." Explained Bemis.

Leaving businesses like Pubelo Vida to sit tight and see how the pilot program rolls out.

"If it’s run correctly and the companies are involved response times are low I think it could be great.” said Owens. "The bike racks outside get full as is so I’m assuming the scooters are going to be a main aspect of the front of our business which is fine as long as they don’t become a pile of scooters.”

Once the city chooses the two scooter companies they think will work best, each will be alloted 500 scooters. Meaning 1,000 will be hitting the streets for its tentative start date in August. But Bemis said that could be pushed back if more time is needed to smooth out the details.

The City of Tucson wants your feedback throughout the pilot program. They want to know how and why you use them, and if you have any concerns. Once the program starts, you can submit feedback on their website HERE.

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