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Corpus Christi to Regulate Electric Rented Scooters

Blue Duck scooters along the downtown Corpus Christi seawall can be rented by downloading an app on your smartphone. Pick them up from where you find them, drop them off anywhere you need to. Courtesy photo

Possible regulations of rented electric scooters are expected to be on an upcoming Corpus Christi City Council agenda. The Bird and Blue Duck companies have been offering scooter rentals in the downtown area since late October. Bird has 150 scooters available, while Blue Duck has 100.

The Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 3 board will make a presentation to the council on suggested city ordinances at a regular council meeting Jan. 8. Under consideration will be licensing fees, locations, parking rules, and training requirements.

State regulations already handle two issues the city will not need to address: Scooters must yield to pedestrians and cannot be ridden on streets with a speed limit higher than 35 mph.

Current proposals by the TIRZ include a flat licensing fee of $500 plus $10 per scooter along with an additional $1 per scooter per-day fee. Contact information for a local fleet manager would have to be kept current with the city and phone numbers for reporting problems posted on each vehicle.

Also, companies would have to provide safety information to every rider, including information on wearing helmets, where to park, and how to operate the scooter.

Companies may be asked to provide monthly usage reports to the city, including routes, trends, pickup and drop-off points, trip durations, time and day as well as other information on injuries and breakdowns.

And, finally, scooters would have to be parked upright on sidewalks, not on streets or in parking places, and must not block bicycle lanes, transit stops, commercial loading zones, railroad tracks, benches, building entryways, driveways, pedestrian and disabled access ramps, or disabled parking zones.

The cost to ride a Blue Duck scooter is $1 to start and 15 cents per minute. Riders us a smartphone app to become a member of the flock (meaning you can unlock and ride the scooter). Blue Ducks are in mostly campus communities in the Southern and Western United States, including Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Bird also uses an app to unlock and pay for a ride. Birds are in 100-plus cities, including Austin, St. Louis, Atlanta, Louisville, Nashville, and Paris.

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There are 2 comments.

Josh —
Leave it to corpus city council to ruin a good thing, and the best thing to ever bring activity downtown in a long time. Regulating these scooters the way the article asserts would bring downtown back to square one in terms of attracting activity. I don't think corpus would ever have anything nice at this rate.
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Carrie Meyer —
They're fun to ride. We rented a Bird for 30 minutes on the Bayfront and paid $7 total. I think the main problem is how fast they go. They go really fast, which makes it fun and really efficient to get from Point A to Point B. But if you're going past pedestrians on the Bayfront and someone steps into your path or a little kid or dog darts in front of you, I can see how that would not end well. Also, the wind blows the scooters over, even when they're parked correctly. Seems to me that if they had them parked in a stand, like the rental bikes have, that would make it less Helter Skelter with scooters lying all over the place. Theft is also an issue that, ultimately, will probably put the companies out of business. I've already seen one of the GPS units ripped off a scooter and left on the Bayfront. So people are figuring out how to disengage or remove the GPS units and take the scooter home, stealing them.
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