Scooters will not return for a second pilot program this summer

Published: Jun. 16, 2020 at 5:58 PM CDT
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Motorized scooters will not return to Omaha this summer for a second pilot program.

Omaha City Council members voted 4-3 not to award contracts to scooter companies Bird and Spin.

The decision comes a week after a safety ordinance for the use of scooters was passed.

Many of the council members and the public brought up concerns about enforcement, the use of helmets, and the pandemic during Tuesday's meeting.

"With the covid pandemic going on right now and with the fact that you have multiple riders per day using the same units. And with the other pressing issues going on in our city. The thought creeps in my mind. Really? Right now? This is what we need to be doing? Scooters," Council Member Chris Jerram asked.

City council members also said the placement of scooters throughout the city was a concern. Councilmember Ben Gray said there were no scooters placed in North Omaha during the first pilot program.

Before the vote, many council members said they did not feel like they were given enough time to make a decision. They felt rushed.

"That’s the parking and mobility and administration coming at the last minute to us and then rushing us to make decisions that should’ve been done in a collaborative way," Jerram said.

In a statement, Mode Shift Omaha - a local non-profit transportation advocate - told us they agree with the decision. They said welcoming scooters without adequate infrastructure would be a mistake.

"We were just talking about how this summer it’s going to be kind of sad we can’t see the scooters and we can’t see people riding the scooters" Scooter renter Natalie Begley said.

"While I do you think they are super fun, maybe with the current climate and everything going on with COVID-19 it probably is the best idea to hold off on them for the time being," renter Sydney Peterson said.

All agree they are sad to see them go but understand now is not the time but were happy to hear the city council is open to having these discussions again next year.

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