The problem with e-scooters may be the riders

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Tampa's transportation leaders say the feedback has been mixed since e-scooters were introduced downtown at the end of May.

Representatives from the scooter companies took questions Thursday morning from Tampa City Council members, whose top priority remains safety.

Some council members admitted having a good time on the scooters but said their takeaway from community feedback: Riders are the problem, not the scooters.

Anecdotes were plenty. The Director of Transportation and Stormwater Services, Jean Duncan said she was told about a female rider who was wearing high heels and drinking coffee on a scooter.

"There are people out there, Howard Ave. the other night, a guy and girl riding a scooter. A guy with his kids riding a scooter," described Councilman Orlando Gudes, Tampa District 5.

Since the program's start, councilmembers say 97 complaints have been filed, 30 of which were from the same individual.

Councilmember Duncan said, "We're working with him to try to address his concerns."

"Education is the key. Talking with the scooter companies, they are very big on education," said Councilman Joseph Citro, Tampa District 1.

Representatives from Bird, Jump, Lime and Spin responded to the common concern - educating users.

"We've determined, based off of data, that it really is that first ride that makes a difference for users. So we have what we called ‘the first ride,' where we set aside a specific location in the city and invite people in the community and train them. We show them how to unlock the scooter, how to get on it, how to use it, but also how to park it safely. We want to make sure the people are safe, and one way to do it is through education,' Lime representative Uhriel Bedoya said.

Scooter companies also have the option to fine riders up to $50 for improperly parking scooters. The fine amount and conditions would be up to each scooter company.

Tampa's transportation director said the pilot program is going well, but there are still tweaks being made.

"We're still figuring out how we can get more information on accidents and injuries. But in terms of complaints, as a measure of success, I think we're doing very well," Duncan said.

They still have several more months to before the pilot program ends next April.