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Get Ready Raleigh, The Scooters Are Coming Back

Bird Electric Scooters
John Minchillo/AP
Sharable electric scooters by Bird Rides, Inc. wait on downtown sidewalks for pedestrian use, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, in downtown Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Electronic scooters seemed to appear out of nowhere in Raleigh in 2018. And then left just as suddenly a year later.

One thing that I think is really important is becoming less car-dependent.
Raleigh Council Member Jonathan Melton

Companies like Bird Scooters and Lime said the city's rules for them to operate drove them out. Raleigh had capped the number of scooters at 1,500, insurance went up, and the city's annual fee per scooter had increased to $300.

But Raleigh residents and visitors will soon be able to zip around town on electronic scooters again. Raleigh is currently negotiating new agreements with three e-scooter companies to draw the companies back to the city.

Raleigh City Council Member Jonathan Melton says it's a top priority for him to bring them back to Raleigh as another transportation option.

"It sounds like a small issue, but I think it plays an important role in the type of city that I'm working to build while I'm on council. And one thing that I think is really important is becoming less car-dependent," said Melton.

Melton was appointed to the city's transportation committee in 2019 soon after e-scooter companies left Raleigh.

As part of the committee, he says this time around, he wants to make sure the rules and regulations for the scooters are being honored like making sure they're ridden in the right areas and parked in the right spots.

He says Raleigh's transportation system as a whole needs to be revamped and that e-scooters might be the way to do that.

"We are working on our public transit and transportation system," Melton said. "We're building more bus shelters, building more bike lanes, improving our crosswalks and pedestrian safety. And micro-mobility plays a part in that it's great for that last mile connectivity, getting people where they need to go without having to access to cars."

The three scooter companies coming to Raleigh later this summer have yet to be named.

Naomi Prioleau joined WUNC in January 2017.
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