Riders test e-scooters in advance of debut on Tucson streets

Updated: Sep. 4, 2019 at 8:20 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - E-scooters are hitting Tucson streets in about a week. Before the big launch, Razor and Bird, the companies awarded the six-month trial, gave the public a taste of their scooters on Wednesday, Sept. 4.

“I think if more people have easier access to transportation that’s great, but if they become a safety hazard as they have in some places then that’s a concern,” Georgia Weiss-Elliott, a graduate student at University of Arizona, said.

Weiss-Elliot usually bikes places. She said she enjoys the workout, but she is not concerned about sharing the road with another form of transportation - e-scooters, she’s concerned about the drivers of cars.

“Sometimes drivers in Tucson are aggressive toward us already,” said Weiss-Elliot.

Both Bird and Razor can have 500 scooters out, plus an additional 250 in “opportunity zones” near low-income areas.

“We’re interested in introducing more choices to people in Tucson in terms of how they get around,” said Andy Bemis, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the Tucson Department of Transportation.

The scooters are not allowed on campus. However, the University is gearing up to prepare for the 1,500 scooters that could be on the streets. There will 20 “dropping zones” for the scooters around the UA campus.

“We believe that they would be unsafe for student faculty, staff and guest,” said Jim Sayre, Executive Director of parking and transportation for the University of Arizona.

Sayre and his team developed a type of scoot rack for the e-scooters. Their hope is that it will make the drop-zones more organized. Right now, they only have one manufactured, but if it is successful, they hope to implement more around campus.

If an e-scooter of any kind is found on campus, the University will issue a $100 fine, that could be passed along to the user.

The city hopes the scooters will get people closer to transportation sites and cut down on the wear-and-tear of the roads, but many are concerned about the scooter laying around town.

“Those are legitimate concerns. Certainly, clutter and safety are concerns with scooter operations,” said Bemis. “It does work in some places, and I think it’s worth trying, and that’s why we’re doing it under a trial basis.”

The scooters will officially be out on Sept. 12.

Click HERE to see the opportunity zones in Tucson.

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