Isaac Reichman firstname.lastname@example.org (O) 312.744.5365 (C) 312.805.9385
The City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) and the Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced today that they will issue permits to ten companies to participate in Chicago’s Electric Shared Scooter Pilot Program. The selected companies demonstrated in their applications the ability to meet Chicago’s strict operational, safety and equity guidelines for the four-month scooter pilot, which will launch on June 15.
“We have designed a pilot program that will test the viability of scooters as a mobility option in Chicago in an equitable, safe and responsible manner,” said BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno. “The selected companies will be held accountable to carry out this program on our terms.”
The City will offer permits to:
Each of the ten companies will be granted 250 scooters to operate in the 50-square mile zone on the west side of the City. That area will be bounded by Halsted St. and the Chicago River on the east, Irving Park Rd. on the north, the City boundary and Harlem Ave. on the west, and the Chicago River on the south. To ensure an equitable delivery of the service, two priority areas have been identified within the pilot zone, with at least 25% of scooters placed into each zone every morning.
In addition to the rebalancing requirement, the City also will ensure that vendors comply with the pilot’s parking, operational and safety conditions. Scooters are limited to 15 mph, cannot be ridden
on sidewalks, must be operated only from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day, must be removed from the public way each night, must be parked wherever it is legal to park a bike, cannot be operated outside of the pilot area, and improperly parked scooters must be corrected within two hours. Vendors will provide the City with real-time data on operations, ridership, and safety, and the City may suspend or revoke the licenses of vendors that fail to adhere to the pilot’s terms.
“Chicago is dedicated to testing the viability of innovative mobility options that have the potential to improve transportation access across the city,” said CDOT Managing Deputy Commissioner Kevin O’Malley. “Vendors will be held to the highest standards of accountability in how effectively they manage impacts on the public right of way and how they promote the safety of both scooter riders and other people who are in the right of way.”
Through the application process, scooter companies were required to submit plans for how they will engage with local businesses, provide equitable services to the unbanked on non-smartphone users, ensure access for individuals with disabilities and hire locally. Companies will be expected to adhere to these plans to ensure that vendors act in the public interest and prioritize inclusion, equity and accessibility. Notable highlights of the plans include:
• Scooters with seats to allow for easier access to people with disabilities
• The ability for scooters to be unlocked via text for those without smartphones
• A cash payment option for individuals without a bank account or debit or credit card
• Plans to engage the local business community to provide free helmets to users
The City and the selected vendors are rolling out a comprehensive education campaign to promote safe riding, encourage helmet use, inform users of the 18 or older age requirement (16 with a guardian’s consent), and demonstrate proper parking and riding procedures. This campaign will ensure that all users and residents are aware of the strict operational guidelines designed to ensure safety and minimize sidewalk clutter. The safe-riding and proper parking flyer will be distributed to scooter users, community groups, alderman, and all stakeholders.
Over the four-month period, the City will continue to solicit feedback from residents through surveys, 311 and vendor data, and regular stakeholder meetings to assess the viability of electric shared scooters as a new mobility option. The pilot’s results will inform future policymaking and will build on recommendations from the New Transportation and Mobility Task Force, which provided the motivation for this pilot in their March 2019 report.
Additionally, the pilot is one of many strategies the City is pursuing under the American Cities Climate Challenge to accelerate its efforts to reduce carbon emissions by the end of 2020 and achieve its goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with targets set in the Paris Agreement. Shared bicycles and scooters have emerged as a new way for people to travel across their cities, and the pilot may offer a substitute for more carbon-intensive forms of travel for short point-to-point trips and first- and last-mile transit commute connections.
For more information on the scooter pilot, go to: www.chicago.gov/scooters