TAMPA (WFLA) – Brian Richards looked out of his downtown Tampa condo over the weekend and could see scooter riders everywhere.
“I think they are neat addition to the downtown mobility movement,” said Richards.
At the same time, he sees the potential for problems as riders are leaving the rental scooters where ever they happen to finish their rides.
“The fact that they can be left anywhere. If they aren’t left in an area that’s really safe there is going to be an opportunity for people to trip over them,” said Richards.
Dan Fleischbein with Spin, one of the companies who are renting the scooters says he and many others are working long hours to make the scooter experience a good one for all.
“We’ve had people on the road picking up, dropping off. We’ve had an insane number of scooters being utilized, much longer than they typically are in other cities,” said Fleichbein.
Spin had more than 2,500 individual rides for the opening weekend according to Fleichbein.In addition to the parking issues, some have complained of nearly being run over on city sidewalks by scooter riders.
Fleischbein says the start will be a learning experience for all, but there are measures built into the app to help with problems like parking.
“In those instructions it shows you how to ride them, but it also tells you how to park them and it requires you to take a photo, so we do want the consumer to park them properly and the next rider that picks it up will give a thumbs up or a thumbs down if it was parked properly,” said Fleischbein.
There are also built-in measures to prevent people from riding the scooters where they are not allowed.
A “geo-fence” is set up to prevent riders from going on 7th Avenue in Ybor City, from Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa and from Tampa’s Riverwalk.
Fleischbein says the “geo-fence” is not set up like a wall.”The no ride zone is not like a force field. You’re not going to hit it and stop. We don’t want that, you’d go flying. So what happens is, it just cuts the power and you’re going to coast,” said Fleischbein.
The city of Tampa has allowed the scooter companies to operate on a trial basis. City Council members say the operating agreement will not be renewed if there are too many problems.