September 16, 2020

City Releases Update on First Month of 2020 Shared E-scooter Pilot Program

Second Chicago pilot requires scooters to be locked to a fixed object to avoid sidewalk clutter; goal is to test if devices are an effective long-term mobility option

Mike Claffey, CDOT     312.744.0707 | Michael.Claffey@cityofchicago.org

Isaac Reichman, BACP     312.744.2523 | Isaac.Reichman@cityofchicago.org

CHICAGO – One month into the City of Chicago’s second e-scooter pilot, data from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) show nearly a quarter of a million trips, fewer complaints and better coverage of the priority areas than the 2019 pilot. First month data indicates that ridership rate is down, with more than 230,400 scooter trips logged in 2020 compared to 218,000 trips in the first month of 2019 pilot, which was conducted in a smaller area with fewer total devices. Average trip length in the first month of the 2020 pilot has been 1.87 miles, 34% longer than the average trip during the first month of the 2019 pilot. Complaints to 3-1-1 are down 60%, and daily deployment to the Priority Areas is near the 50% goal.  

 

“While initial demand is lower than last year’s pilot, we are encouraged by both the data and anecdotal reports from residents, advocates and City staff that indicate the lock-to cable requirement has significantly reduced the number of instances of devices blocking sidewalks,” said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi. “But we are still getting too many reports of people improperly and unsafely riding scooters on sidewalks. We are working with the three scooter companies to provide additional education to riders about the importance of safe riding practices.” 

 

The data for the first month of the 2020 pilot show that the number of trips per scooter is down from last year, with an average of 1.42 trips per day per device, compared to 4.76 trips per day per device in the first month of the 2019 pilot. However, the lock-to mechanism that requires users to lock the e-scooters to a bike rack or other fixed object appears to have helped to mitigate the problem of scooters being improperly parked and blocking the public way. Last year, these blockages were particularly troubling for members of the disabled and visually-impaired communities, making it harder for them to navigate the city. Through the first month, 311 complaints about scooters are down 60 percent, with .64 complaints per-day per-1,000 devices logged this year compared to 1.57 complaints per-day per-1,000 devices in the 2019 pilot. A total of 106 scooter-related reports have been filed through 311 through the first month of the 2020 pilot. 

 

Additionally, vendors are required to deploy 50% of their devices to a Priority Area that includes large portions of the City’s South and West Sides and covers 43% of the total pilot area. Through the first month, a daily average of 49.3% devices have been deployed to the Priority Area, only slightly below the goal of 50% and much better than the first month of the 2019 pilot in which only 28% of scooters were deployed into the Priority Areas. Meanwhile, 26.8% of all trips occurred in the Priority Area in the first month. Vendors have also been required to develop additional education and outreach to residents in the Priority Area. 

 

“We are encouraged by the results of the first month but continue to work to hold the companies accountable to our strict terms and requirements,” said BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareño. “This pilot was designed thoughtfully and carefully to test this new mobility option, and we will continue this pilot proactively and diligently.” 

 

CDOT and BACP are closely monitoring the data gathered from the four-month pilot and testing devices to ensure compliance with the City’s rules and regulations. BACP recently completed the first enforcement mission of the pilot, testing scooters from all three companies to verify compliance with the pilot terms. As a result of the enforcement missions, BACP issued a total of 14 Notices to Correct across the three companies. These notices serve as formal warnings, mandating that companies come into compliance in order to avoid further enforcement and fines. The Notices to Correct were as follows: 

 

Bird: 

  • Failed to rebalance designated share of scooters in each of the 20 Priority Sub-Areas  
  • Failed to launch the required number of scooters for the program and for each vendor  
  • Failed to relocate scooter parked outside of pilot area within 2 hours of notification  
  • Failed to have an operational warning bell on one or more of the inspected scooters 
  • Failed to provide information on scooter in braille and raised lettering  
  • Failed to display an app-based quiz that includes safety questions  

 

Lime: 

  • Failed to rebalance designated share of scooters in each of the 20 Priority Sub-Areas  
  • Failed to launch the required number of scooters for the program and for each vendor 
  • Failed to correct scooter parked improperly within 2 hours of being reported 
  • Failed to have an operational warning bell on one or more of the inspected scooters 
  • Failed to have a clear opt-in policy for sharing data with third parties 
  • Failed to display an app-based quiz that includes safety questions 

 

Spin: 

  • Failed to correct scooter parked improperly within 2 hours of being reported 
  • Failed to have a clear opt-in policy for sharing data with third parties 

 

Commissioner Biagi added that the City will begin requiring each vendor to place an educational hang-tag on each scooter for the remainder of the pilot reinforcing the need to lock the scooter to end a trip and reminding riders to not ride on sidewalks. She also said that the City has been working with the companies to adjust how they deploy scooters to ensure that they do not take up all of the available space at bike racks.  Approved e-scooter locking locations include: bike racks and corrals, street signs, retired parking meters and light poles (not including bus stop signs).   

Starting before the launch of the pilot, the City has also been educating elected officials, chambers, neighborhood groups and residents about the process to request more bike parking at: bikeparking.chicagocompletestreets.org. Specific resident requests help the City better understand where more parking is needed. 

The scooter pilot is one of many strategies Chicago is pursuing under the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge to cut carbon pollution and reach 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   

  

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