Razor and Bird electric scooter company struggle to modify rules in complaint
Despite local residents complaining that electric scooters are unsafe and used improperly, the Tucson, Arizona City Council will continue its six-month e-scooter pilot program.
After a city council meeting last month, scooter companies Razor and Bird were asked to work with the Tucson City Transportation Authority to develop a plan to help resolve issues reported by the community. Plans are proposed at a council meeting on Tuesday.
Representative Steve Kozachik said North Fourth Street Merchants Association, Historical Fourth Street Alliance, Iron Horse Community and West University Neighborhood Association are all calling for an end to the electric scooter program.
"These people are affected by this pilot program every day. They are saying, and I say with them, that's enough," Kozakik said at a meeting on December 3.
Community residents report that scooters in their area are unsafe and used improperly, including riding scooters on sidewalks, riding without helmets, riding in traffic, and blocking people on sidewalks and sidewalks.
Each company deployed about 400 scooters in Tucson. Kozachik filed a motion to end the pilot program at a December meeting, but did not have the support of other council members. Instead, the scooter company has 30 days to develop a plan to help with law enforcement, parking issues, and education.
"Let's not suddenly cut back on the procedures for people walking around. We still have a lot to do," MP Paul Cunningham said. Since the pilot program was launched in September, Tucson riders have exceeded 120,000 rides, including 56,000 Bird rides and 66,000 Razor rides.
In the new plan, both Bird and Razor have promised several changes to the plan, which they say will help meet Tucson's needs. "I personally want to ensure the success of the program in Tucson," said Mayor Regina Romero. "For many, this is a micro-traffic option to connect with a destination.
"If successful, we will provide more transportation options for the residents of Tucson. I think it is in the best interest of the company, the city of Tucson and the community and bus users to find solutions to the problems found so far."
Law enforcement and parking
Last month, staff from Bird, Razor, the Department of Transportation in Tucson, the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association, and the Ward 6 Council Office met in North Fourth Street to determine the preferred electric scooter parking area that would not interfere with roadside parking. 24 scooter parking areas will be marked and are expected to be ready by mid-January.
The two scooter companies will also offer incentives to use preferred parking areas as a discount. A message will also be sent to the rider's mobile phone detailing fines related to improper cycling and parking. For repeated offenses, riders will be suspended or terminated by the company for their electric scooter accounts. To help enforce parking rules, Razor will introduce a technology that requires users to take pictures of parked scooters before ending their ride. Bird already needs photos at the end of the trip.
Special event coordination
To address community complaints about electric scooters and special events, Bird and Razor implemented a "No Parking, No Cars" area at a Fourth Street Fair on December 12-16 using a technique called geofencing . The scooter entering the restricted area has been powered off remotely and requires the rider to leave the area before allowing it to end the ride. A similar geofencing scheme was used during last year's Winter Haven Festival of Lights. According to the council, Bird and Razor will continue to work with event organizers to implement these temporary restrictions as needed.
Bird has implemented a "helmet selfie" incentive to encourage cyclists to take photos of themselves wearing a helmet at the end of each ride and exchange them for riding points. Razor said it intends to implement a similar plan. Both companies will continue to provide users with free helmets upon request. Helmets can also be collected at the mayor's office and all six offices.
Education and accessibility
Diana Alarcon, director of transportation at Tucson, said that Bird and Razor have increased their education on the proper use of scooters by creating more phone messages, social media events, local events, and partnerships with the organization.
The two companies are also working with the University of Arizona to increase educational information. UA bans the use of electric scooters on campus, while Bird and Razor want safety guidance, provide handouts, and distribute free helmets.
In addition, the two companies are working on low-income access plans, which include discount plans for eligible individuals, cash payment options, and text transfers for users without a smartphone.