For scooters and bikes, the third charm on Tuesday’s council committee meeting to move the contracts to the full Denver City Council.

The continuing saga concerns what the city should do about launching a new type of program involving scooters and bikes. Yesterday, the third committee meeting sounded sort of the same, but not completely. As before, the presentations to the Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure committee were given by those who work in the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. 

At least the committee members were able to read the contracts between the city and Lyft and Lime that would provide “micro-mobility” for people in Denver. What we had before were sort of rogue scooters, just set loose in the city and involving several companies. 

Just as at the last committee meeting, Council Representative Candi CdeBaca (District 1) and Council Representative Amanda Sandoval (District 3) had numerous questions about how this would help the city. Scooters would undoubtedly be found in Denver’s right-of-ways, and retrieving the scooters and bikes, would need to be picked up quite quickly. Still, probably riders would still find the scooters and bikes convenient. 

Only two companies – Lyft and Lime – would have contracts that the city could enforce for myriad requirements. The contracts would be for five years, though it was questioned that was too long because of changes expected because of new technologies. And geo-fencing would be necessary that the companies slow down their products in certain areas — like, not mowing down people all over the place.

Two of the seven members of the committee were not buying it, with comments by CdeBaca and Sandoval.

Like this, from BusinessDen:

“ ‘I expected you to come back to us with something different based on the feedback, and not seeing anything different makes me reluctant to say — if it wasn’t ready last time, and nothing changed this time, it’s where it was when we said it wasn’t ready last time,’ ” CdeBaca said.

“’ I think we’ve said several times there are things we take issue with,’ she added. ‘We’re concerned with the length of the contract. We’re concerned with the fact it allows only two providers. The fact that it comes with no real enforcement plan.’ ”

As for Sandoval, she was concerned about the future of this program:

“ ‘I have a lot of concerns about tying ourselves to something for five years when the technology is ever-changing,’ Sandoval said. ‘I remember nine years ago, B-Cycle was the big thing. We did all this investment, thought it’d be around. Well guess what, it’s not around anymore. We lost a lot of money on it.”

{Colorado Politics’ story added some background: “E-scooters and shared bikes have been in Denver since the Dockless Mobility Pilot Program was launched in 2018. Since then, over 6.1 million people have used the scooters and over 325,000 people have used the bikes, according to DOTI.”}

Finally, Sandoval had a view of how things are summed up: “… a lot of our data is skewed. The only people who can take these surveys are people who have time and people who have wealth and people who have money. We don’t dig deeper into our data to get people who do not have internet. … I love data, but it comes with entitlement.”

The committee moved this program to the full city council. 

Links below include stories in BusinessDenDenverite and Colorado Politics. There also is a link to a story in The New Yorker in last week’s issue about the scooters moving across the United States. How prescient. But DOTI: Whatever happened to the sidewalk issues?

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