One Year of E-Scooters in Seattle

The city’s shared e-scooter program has proved popular, seeing more than eight times as many rides as its bike share system.

2 minute read

April 25, 2022, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Amanda Zhou reports on the success of Seattle’s electric scooter pilot program, which allowed four private companies to operate scooters in the city starting in September 2020. “Over 1.4 million trips were taken by 260,000 riders during the pilot program between September 2020 and October 2021, with the initial fleet size of around 1,500 colorful devices growing to 5,000 citywide, according to a report recently released by the Seattle Department of Transportation.”

Since the program’s launch, “the number of scooter trips has outpaced the number of rides taken using the city’s mixed fleet of pedal and electric bikes, according to SDOT. In September, Seattle saw just under 300,000 scooter trips compared to about 35,000 bike trips.” More than three quarters of riders used scooters for recreational purposes and errands, while almost a quarter said they used scooters as part of their commute. “About one-fifth of respondents said they used scooters to connect to transit and more than half said they would have used a personal vehicle or taxi if the scooters weren’t available.”

Some city council members expressed lingering concerns about the safety of the devices. “SDOT examined police reports and found 17 collisions, the vast majority of which occurred between a scooter and a vehicle. Five of those cases resulted in ‘serious’ injuries and one was fatal,” the article notes. But infrastructure plays a role, too: “Riders attributed factors like poor weather, road conditions like potholes and raised pavement, and interactions with other drivers.”

The report also highlights the success of the reduced-fare program, while acknowledging that not enough users seem to be aware of the program. “Reduced-fare scooter riders represent less than 1% of all riders but take about 4.5% of rides. Reduced-fare riders took an average of 64 trips per person compared to around three trips per rider overall.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2022 in The Seattle Times

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