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Dockless Scooter Rules Now in Effect in Corpus Christi

Adrian Garcia, 19, of North Beach in Corpus Christi rides a Blue Duck scooter along the seawall in downtown Corpus Christi. Blue Duck scooters are free during the month of January as a promotion to show just how useful and fun scooters can be in the city. Photo by Carrie Robertson Meyer

Against the opposition of two of the three scooter companies now operating in Corpus Christi, the City Council approved a six-month pilot program regulating dockless scooters. It went into effect Jan. 15. Scooter companies will have to pay $1 per day per scooter to leave equipment in city right-of-ways. Currently, the three companies have a total of 1,200 scooters available.

That rate “far exceeds” what other cities are charging to license dockless scooters, said Tim Barnett, a representative of the Lime scooter company, who spoke at the first reading of ordinance Jan. 8. The council voted to approve the ordinance on second reading Jan. 15.

“San Antonio charges $20 per scooter per year,” Barnett told the council during the hour-long discussion Jan. 8. “So, $365 (a year per scooter) is much higher than other cities and prohibitive for us to do our work here. Please allow us to shift from a per-scooter to a per-ride fee.”

A Bird representative was present at the second meeting, saying the company wanted to collaborate with the city on the ordinance but felt the license fee to be too high.

"Left unresolved, (the current fee) threatens to disrupt service in the scooter industry in Corpus Christi,” said Blanca Labord, senior manager of government partnerships for Bird.

She recommended a per-trip fee of 10 cents.

“As it currently stands, the dollar-a-day will pose some limitations to our ability to continue to function and have an accessible mobility mode for the citizens of the city,” she continued.

The representative for Blue Duck, Casey Whittington, stated the company would not threaten to leave Corpus Christi because of the fee.

“We think (the fee) allows everyone to be on an even playing field,” Whittington said. “We want to see that money put toward bike lanes and more sidewalks.”

According to the city’s business liaison, Arlene Medrano, the money collected from fees will be used to reimburse city departments for costs accrued administrating the license program as well as for sidewalk and pedestrian safety improvements.

As stated in the new ordinance, license fees of $1 per day per scooter are due to the city on the 10th day of the month. Complete data reports on scooter rentals for the previous month is due to the city on the fifth of the month. Companies will also have to pay a $20 relocation fee each time a city employee moves equipment parked in an unauthorized area for more than two hours after the company is notified of the infraction.

Right-of-way parking will be allowed on sidewalks as long as handicap-access areas are not blocked. Scooters can be parked upright on sidewalks or flat in grassy areas. At least 36 inches of space must be left by the parked scooter on the sidewalks to allow for pedestrian and wheelchair traffic to easily pass by.

Companies are also required to provide insurance for scooters and keep the city informed of local contact information.

Dockless scooters made their first appearance on Corpus Christi sidewalks last October. Scooter riders are restricted to streets with a 35-mph or less speed limit.

While scooter companies encourage riders to wear helmets and either have a valid driver’s license — which you can have at 16 years old — or be 18 to ride, neither the state nor the city addresses the issues of age or helmets.

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There are 2 comments.

Don —
Another way to facilitate laziness, and the decline of human fitness.
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Danny Mitchell —
Nicely killed council. Nicely killed. Pathetic.
Reply »

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