City Contemplates E-Scooter Program With New Report

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AUSTIN COUNTS
  • Austin Counts

The City of Tucson released its five-month E-Scooter Pilot Program Report on Wednesday for review by the mayor and council during their upcoming March 3 study session. The six-month pilot program is scheduled to end March 12, if the mayor and council vote not to renew.

The city has collected about $68,000 in fees (as of January 2020) from Bird and Razor scooters through application fees, permit fees and right-of-way-use fees (about .20¢ per trip), according to the report. The report estimates the city would receive an extra $6,608 in fees by the program’s end. The report also states the city would collect $129,304 if the program continued for a full year.

Over 37,000 people in the Tucson area between the program’s start on Sept. 12 and Feb. 12 have taken almost 174,000 e-scooter trips. The daily average is 1,130 trips per day, with the average trip distance about .86 miles and the average trip duration about nine minutes, according to the report. On any given day, there was an average of 688 e-scooters on Tucson streets, mainly in central Tucson's Ward 6.

Ridership started strong in the pilot program’s opening month, with 42,763 trips during September. It peaked at 55,500 trips in October. However, scooter trips dropped significantly in November to 34,666 trips. Ridership continued to decrease in December with only 19,219 trips. January saw an increase of 2,614 rides from the previous month, bringing that month's total to 21,833.



In a nutshell, there was nearly double the number of riders during the program’s first month as there were in the last month.

Weekends show the strongest numbers in terms of e-scooter trips by day of the week, averaging nearly double the number of trips on a Saturday (about 1,675 trips) as opposed to ridership on a Monday (about 843 trips). Most trips tend to happen between noon to midnight on the weekends and between noon and 9 p.m. on the weekdays

According to the report, City of Tucson Transportation and Mobility staff conducted an online survey asking the question, “If a scooter wasn’t available, how would you have gotten around?” The number one answer was “walked” at 36 percent, followed by “personal vehicle or car share” with 24 percent.

About 65 percent of the survey’s respondents admitted to never riding a scooter, with 33 percent saying they used one once. The report also states that 43 percent also say they are an occasional e-scooter rider. The primary reason for most trips was for “social and/or entertainment” purposes at 26 percent and another 25 percent of those surveyed said they used them “just for fun.”

The report also shows 71 percent of riders admitting to never wearing a helmet when they ride a scooter. On that note, 87 percent of the same people surveyed also said they have “never fallen or crashed riding an e-scooter” and only 2 percent said they “required same day medical attention at an urgent care or hospital.”

E-scooter parking is the top issue for Tucsonans with 86 percent of those surveyed expressing concern on that front. Fewer than 10 percent of respondents were concerned with issues over riding scooters or lack of wearing helmets while riding .

Of all respondents surveyed, 36 percent strongly disapprove of e-scooters in Tucson while 26 percent strongly approve. However when the vote is broken down to e-scooter users versus non-users, the results are drastically different. More than 60 percent of those who considered themselves e-scooter users said they approve of the program, with only 13 percent of users disapproving. For non-users, only 10 percent strongly approved of the program, while 47 percent strongly disapprove. In addition, 54 percent of users said they would be extremely likely to “recommend e-scooters to a friend” while 62 percent of non-users said they would not.

Here's a link to the full report.

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