When the Alexandria City Council approved a nine-month Dockless Mobility pilot program in November 2018, a LOT of citizens asked why? The City continues to accept permit applications from operators.
Dockless mobility devices are similar to shared devices such as Capital Bikeshare bicycles but are not stored at fixed docks. Instead, users are supposed to leave devices at appropriate locations in the public right-of-way (such as the edge of a sidewalk) and locate available devices through a website or mobile app. From the email we have received on this, scooters are like Opera, you either love them or you really, really hate them.
The pilot program is supposed to evaluate the safety and popularity of dockless mobility devices and the overall performance of the participating companies but, based upon City Council’s reaction the other night, it looks like the scooters are here to stay in Alexandria, Virginia.
Why did we get them in the first place? As the above 2018 Vice News report on the scooters rollout in San Franciso shows (*WARNING* Strong language), companies are littering electric scooter across cities first, then waiting for the law to catch up with them (Hence, why Alexandria implemented the pilot program).
It’s something former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick called “principled confrontation.” Euwyn Poon, a cofounder of electric scooter company Spin, refers to it as “innovating on the regulatory side.”
You see, the Pilot program is for the City and the companies to figure out how scooters should be regulated, and how the companies can get their riders to follow the rules. My feeling is the City Council, once the pilot is over in July, will look to keep the scooters around – likely with fewer companies providing the service.