RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — One month after DPW crews confiscated dozens of electric scooters that a California-based rental company scattered across the city unannounced, Mayor Levar Stoney says he is working to bring ‘innovative transportation options’ to Richmond.
Back in August, Bird Rides Inc. scattered dozens of the dockless scooters throughout downtown without informing the city. Crews spent the rest of the day collecting the electric scooters and hauling them away.
On Wednesday, Mayor Stoney announced that he is submitting legislation for City Council to review during its upcoming meeting on September 24 that would ‘establishing a regulatory framework for the operation and use of motorized dockless scooters and bikes in the city.’
If approved by City Council, Mayor Stoney’s ‘Motorized Dockless Scooter and Bicycle Share Pilot Program’ would allow dockless scooters to legally operate in the City of Richmond’s right-of-way as an extension of the public transportation system.
“I support innovative transportation options for Richmonders – such as the previously established RVA Bike Share Program that helps residents ‘go the last mile,’” Mayor Stoney said in a release.
“Dockless scooters are a unique addition to Richmond’s transportation options. However, just as with any mode of transportation – whether car, bus, or bicycle – proper safety and operation guidelines are a must.”
Specifically, Mayor Stoney’s permit program will:
- Require a non-refundable application fee of $1,500 for scooter companies and an annual permit fee, which will be based on the number of scooters;
- Require dockless scooter companies to provide customer service during all hours of scooter operation;
- Educate riders on legal parking requirements. Scooters must be parked standing upright and outside the path of travel on sidewalks. Upon notification, improperly parked scooters are required to be removed by the company in a timely manner; and,
- Establish necessary safety practices (e.g. promoting the use of a helmet) and features (such as front and rear lights).
After one year, the Department of Public Works will review and evaluate both the permit program and application process.
“Richmond will do this the right way,” Mayor Stoney said in a release. “We will implement a legal and appropriate dockless scooter and bicycle program with proper safety regulations to protect scooter users, pedestrians, and other citizens.”