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Help Fund Infrastructure, and Other Minimum Requirements for E-Scooter Companies in Philadelphia

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has been monitoring e-scooter rollouts and usage in cities around the country in preparation for Philadelphia’s own potential e-scooter revolution.

After an On The Table Philly conversation with some concerned citizens in November 2018, we have outlined several of the minimum requirements we’d like to see e-scooter companies adhere to if, and when, e-scooter sharing becomes a thing in Philadelphia. These requirements are based on what companies are already required to do in cities across the country, what the Bicycle Coalition believes should be done, and what those who came to our On The Table Philly discussion talked about.

Based on our On The Table feedback and meetings with scooter companies opting to operate in Philadelphia, here are the suggestions we’ve heard if, and when, scooter sharing comes to Philadelphia. The following ideas are a mix of suggestions presented by all those groups.*

Help Fund Infrastructure

Private e-scooter companies have an incentive for better, safer streets in the cities in which they operate. E-scooters have taken a proactive approach to helping cities fund infrastructure, and we believe future e-scooter companies in Philadelphia should do the same.

  • In addition to other payments to the City of Philadelphia, e-vehicles companies should contribute $.10 per ride to fund building and maintaining Philadelphia’s bikeway network. (Similar to Baltimore, MD)

Equity Rebalancing

The Bicycle Coalition believes in fair, equitable transportation for all. That’s why we also believe e-scooter companies should make sure their vehicles are available to every Philadelphian.

  • When scooters are re-charged overnight, companies should place 20 percent of all e-scooters in lower-income communities to be identified by the City of Philadelphia. (Portland, OR)
  • The companies are required to offer discounted rides or monthly rates to low income riders. (Baltimore, MD)
  • Free scooter rides for people who charge the scooter at their house. (Portland, OR)
  • Rewarding people without homes who return scooters to charging centers with money. (Portland, OR)
  • Fee reduction programs/applications for those already receiving government assistance. (Portland, OR; Los Angeles, California)
  • Adaptive vehicles for the disabled.

Enforce and Discourage Sidewalk Riding and Cluttering

  • App should discourage riders from riding on the sidewalk and encourage them to park in designated or otherwise appropriate “furniture zones” specifically for scooters.
  • No drop zones. (Baltimore, MD; Los Angeles, California)
  • App should encourage use of scooters in bike lanes and sidepaths.
  • 24-hour hotline to report vehicles cluttering the right-of-way.
  • Ensure scooters adhere to the same rules and regulations that apply to bicycles in the City of Philadelphia. (Baltimore, MD)
  • Companies must remove broken vehicles within 6 hours of being reported. (Baltimore, MD)
  • Companies must report vandalism and theft to the city each week. (Baltimore, MD)

Cash Payment Option

As part of our commitment to equity, it’s important e-scooter companies provide an option for those riders without smart phones and/or credit cards.

  • E-scooter companies should include a cash payment option to guarantee anyone in the city can use them. (Washington, DC)
  • Companies should include a non smartphone option.

Safety

  • Scooter companies should properly train contractors to safely transport, re-charge, and re-balance the scooters.
  • Minimum age 16 (Portland, OR)
  • Send notifications with safety reminders (Los Angeles, California)

Other ideas

  • Require placement of scooters near transit stops.
  • Adaptive vehicles for disabled.
  • Each company should be required to have insurance for claims injury or death, or property damage. (Baltimore, MD)
  • App should inform riders that while parking scooters you can’t impede private property or driveways, stairways, bus shelters, street or bike lanes, designated parking spaces, or planters. (Baltimore, MD)

*A previous version of this blog did not make clear that the ideas presented here are a mix of ideas from the Bicycle Coalition, other cities’ current implementations, people who came to our On The Table Philly meet-up, and the scooter companies themselves, not just the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. 

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Topics: Biking in Philly, Featured

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