Scooter companies stepping up as selection process nears

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As Nashville awaits which scooters will get to stay in Music City, companies have been trying to prove why they should be chosen.

Those initiatives range from rider education to more staffers monitoring rider behavior.

“In the app, one thing we did recently was we started showing bike lanes,” said Max Loosen, Lyft Market Manager.

“Bird Watchers going around all day moving scooters, handing out helmets,” said Sam Reed of Bird Scooters.

Bird, Lime, Lyft, Spin, Jump, and Bolt are the final six companies eyeing the final three spots.

Bird and Lyft were among the first companies to enter the market.

“It’s the highest priority,” said Loosen.

“Our focus is really on how we would be the best partner for Nashville so we can be here for the long-term,” said Reed.

Reed said part of that comes from incentivizing good rider behavior.

The company’s newest rollout – a preferred parking lot.

When riders park in designated scooter corrals, they get a dollar back.

“We’re not cluttering them on the sidewalks, we’re not blocking right of ways,” said Reed.

Compromises between scooter companies and Metro Council have also had an effect.

Among them – reduced hours of operation, slow zones, and a 50-percent reduction in fleet size.

The total scooters in Nashville currently is less than 2,000, according to the Transportation Licensing Commission or TLC.

As the selection process undergoes a final review, Lime, Uber, Spin, and Bolt told News 2, they’re committed to working with the city to find a balance that works.

Spin, in a recent letter to Metro Council, shared that the company hears Council Members’ concerns about scooters, but also cited the need for improved infrastructure like protected bike lanes.

Until a decision is made, which companies will get to stay is fair game.

“We think, first of all, the RFP is the right step,” said Loosen. “Obviously it’s competitive, there’s the talk of three operators being left at the end of the RFP, but we think it’s the right thing for the city.”

“Nashville is sort of becoming the leader on scooter policy,” said Reed. “Initially, it was anyone that came here was issued a permit and allowed to bring a lot of scooters here, and that I think didn’t really work here and cities are moving towards a more limited provider, more controlled, and holding operators to a higher standard.”

A request for proposal or RFP will determine the criteria scooter companies must meet.

The TLC said the RFP is going through a final review.

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