Electric scooter pilot program gets OK from City Council

Image 1 of 2

One of the newest transportation crazes is coming to Tampa after city council voted in favor of a pilot program that would make electric scooters an option for residents.

"We're trying to give our residents and citizens other choices for how to get around," said Jean Duncan, the city's director of transportation and stormwater services.

The city gave the green light Thursday to a pilot program that will make 2,400 scooters available to Tampa riders. Beginning in May, users will be able to rent a set of wheels through an app on their phones.

"It would help a lot. It would probably reduce traffic, especially in this [downtown] area, with all the cars and small streets and one ways," said USF student Alexandra Stergios.

However, not everyone is so sure. Virginia Beach native and Tampa resident Alex Lally witnessed the scooters take over his home town.

"I truly believe it makes the city look super trashy especially if they're not able to use the bike lanes...and I've seen plenty of people's faces get busted up, I have an entire picture of my friend's face just completely torn up," said Lally.

But the city said they're prepared. They plan to implement regulations such as designated areas for users to ride and a 15 mile-per-hour speed limit for the scooters. Additionally, the scooters will only be allowed to travel on city sidewalks and will be banned from busy walkways such as the Riverwalk and Bayshore.

"The way we've written our ordinance for how these can be used on the streets in terms of the speed limits and locations, we're hoping all those encourage more safety of our users," said Duncan.

The city believes this new craze could make residents' lives just a little bit easier.

"It creates a buzz, it draws interest to the city and it does give people other ways to get around," Duncan stated.

City leaders said they will keep a close eye on the scooters throughout the pilot program with plans to revisit the topic in May of 2020. However, they are prepared to re-evaluate the program sooner if need be.