Lincoln’s scooter pilot kicks-off with dozens of scooters parked on downtown street corners

Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 6:15 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - For the next year, there’s a new way to get around downtown Lincoln.

The electric scooter pilot program kicked off Tuesday, with scooters placed on random street corners throughout the Haymarket and downtown.

“I think it’s a fun idea,” said Pat Langfeldt, who was walking in the downtown area.

Two companies are participating in the pilot, Bird and Spin.

The city allowed each of them to place up to 250 scooters in the downtown area, but as of Tuesday the two apps maps showed there were fewer than 100 in the area so far.

Many people 10/11 NOW spoke to in the downtown area hadn’t heard of the scooters or didn’t think they’d impact their lives, but one UNL student said he’ll be using one every day.

“It’s a great addition to Lincoln for students or anyone trying to get around,” Hunter Krehnke said. “If you’re late for class or going somewhere you can just hop on for a cheap price and head on your way.”

To use the scooters, riders have to download the Bird or Spin app on a smartphone, and use the map on the app to find a scooter nearby. Once a scooter is located, the rider scans a code on the scooter and can take off.

Both companies charge $1 to activate the scooter, then an additional .33 to .39 cents per minute. A ten minute ride cost 10/11 NOW $6.66.

The scooters can be ridden on the street or in protected bike lanes. It is not legal to ride them on the sidewalk.

A Lincoln resident, Maddy Perry, said she rode the scooters in Washington D.C. and had a good experience.

“Everyone there respected it and it was really easy,” Perry said. “People kept them out of walkways.”

The scooters can be ridden from Antelope Valley to the east, Pinnacle Arena Drive in the Haymarket to the west, H Street near Lincoln Mall to the south and X Street near Nebraska Hall to the North.

If a scooter is taken out of those bounds it will stop running.

Once a rider is done with their scooter, it can be parked in the sidewalk anywhere in that area, as long as its out of the way. There are also some designated scooter parking spots along R Street, Vine Street and S Street.

One person told 10/11 NOW they’re interested in using the scooters and think they’ll make life easier for people, but said the timing isn’t great because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It may be prudent for you to carry alcohol wipes to wipe it down before and after because you never know who used it,” Jorge Marroquin said.

Both Spin and Bird detailed a plan for frequent sanitation of the scooters in their apps.

The scooters will be in Lincoln for the next year, during which time the city will monitor how they’re used and how they impact the downtown area, then they’ll decide if the scooters can stay.

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