You may now take a seat.
Portland will soon have hundreds of seated electric scooters available to rent on city streets.
The Bureau of Transportation on Friday announced it approved permits for two companies, Razor and Shared, to operate a seated e-scooter fleet here.
The seated devices are the first so far in Portland, but at least one of the companies has fleets in eight other cities.
In a statement, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly said Portland wanted to make the scooter fleet more accessible for people who might not be able to stand on the existing devices. “There is still a significant amount of work to be done to achieve equity in transportation,” she said, “but the addition of seated e-scooters to our local fleet opens up this mode of transport to many more Portlanders.”
The scooters are also an option for able-bodied riders who would rather sit than stand. The scooters have larger wheels and wider tires, according to a city statement. Riders must obey the same regulations in place for other devices, including a 15 mile per hour maximum speed and helmet and sidewalk laws.
Razor, a California-based company, may have as many as 525 vehicles. According to the company’s smart-phone app, scooters are already on Portland streets. Tacoma-based Shared may have up to 200 devices, but they don’t appear to be in town yet. Portland will be the first market for Shared.
With the two additional companies, Portland now has five companies approved to deploy a collective 1,975 scooter fleet in town. That’s still fewer devices than the more than 2,000 scooters permitted during the four-month trial period from 2018.
Portland has said it would allow scooter companies to add more devices in 2019 if they meet a series of guidelines designed to incentivize ridership in east Portland and keep scooters out of public parks. If companies achieve those goals, Portland said it could feasibly see 9,000 scooters citywide. That hasn’t happened yet.
Portland is a few months into a one-year scooter trial that will run until April 26, 2020. The city said it would evaluate the program again in 2020 and determine whether to welcome scooters to town permanently.
— Andrew Theen
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