Fate of scooters in Nashville prolonged

Nashville 2019

The fate of scooters in Nashville now hangs in the balance longer than expected.

A selection process to narrow down the scooter companies should have been decided by the end of this year, but that’s not going to be case.

First it was December.

“We had a transition, change in administration, the (John) Cooper Administration reached out to me and said we’d like to get a little more time on this than the 100 days,” said District 19 Councilmember Freddie O’Connell.

A new bill filed Friday extends the period for Metro to come up with that selection process to determine which scooter operators get to stay and which have to go.

O’Connell sponsored the bill.

“We’ll see where we come up,” he said. “It charges the Transportation and Licensing Commission to come back in 120 days from passage.”

The bill which still has to pass a vote has much more stringent requirements for operators.

“It caps it at 500 scooters per operator, they have to basically agree to participate in a series of meetings and a bunch of objectives, including staying clear on sidewalks, keeping clear, obeying traffic laws,” he said.

But the number of companies allowed to stay in the market remains up in the air.

“Even if we don’t fix it at two or three you might find that only two or three can even qualify,” said O’Connell.

Still with so many questions, O’Connell said there have been improvements to safety and nuisance issues.

He said scooter fleets reduced by half in August have helped to cut down on complaints.

Add Lyft and Gotcha leaving the market, and there’s only 1,750 scooters that remain.

Resident Debra Hood said that decrease in itself, might do the trick.

“I think that helps, a handful of companies should be just enough,” said Hood. “They can put out enough scooters that we don’t need 20 companies.”

“I’m optimistic that with a renewed focus that there might be, we might see that one or two high-quality operators come in, we only have 1,000 scooters,” said O’Connell.

A first reading for the bill is set for Dec. 17. Once approved, it would give Metro 120 days to come up with a selection process.

This means changes to scooter operations could come as soon as July of 2020.

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