Electric Scooters Less Common in Low-Income Neighborhoods, Despite Local Regulations

Regulations for the operation of electric scooter share in Columbus, Ohio require companies to distribute scooter in low-income neighborhoods. The companies haven't been living up to their part of the deal.
May 14, 2019, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Doug Caruso and Rick Rouan report on a developing controversy in Columbus, where the city is cracking down on electric scooter company Bird, for failing to place 20 percent of its scooters in "opportunity" neighborhoods around the city.  

A city administrator sent a violation letter to Bird in April that threatened to impound the company’s scooters if it didn’t start placing 20 percent of its scooters in opportunity neighborhoods as its contract requires. A Dispatch analysis of trip data for March showed that of more than 6,700 Bird trips that month, just 40 started in an opportunity neighborhood.

Bird isn't the only company having a problem meeting the city's requirements.

A look at data that Lime reports to the city shows that the company met the requirement on just 19 days from December through March. Lime’s record improved in late March, when a city official sent an email reminding the company of its responsibilities under the contract.

Lime met the goal between March 23 and March 30, after receiving the letter.

Meanwhile, the city could seize Bird's scooters if the company doesn't clean up its act.

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Published on Sunday, May 12, 2019 in The Columbus Dispatch
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