Safety event held as scooters back on Dallas streets

Two and a half years ago, rental scooters were banned in Dallas because of too much clutter and too many unsafe riders.

Now, those dockless scooters are back with new rules and technology that is supposed to address those concerns.

As of this week, there are now 1,500 e-scooters back on the streets of Dallas.

Three companies were selected by the city for this re-launch. One is new to the market.

City leaders believe the scooters will do better this time around, with promises of new technology and stiffer fines for rule breakers.

Like them or not, e-scooters are back in Dallas.

SuperPedestrian, which is new to the area, is one of three vendors selected to operate in the city.

Lime and Bird are making a return, but each company is only allowed to deploy 500 vehicles a piece.

"The changes were intended to address the core issues that were key factors in the suspension of the program," Dallas Transportation Director Gus Khankarli said.

The so-called Shareable Dockless Vehicle Program was put on pause in September 2020, after piles of scooters were found scattered across city streets.

Riders were also seen using them on prohibited areas, such as highways and sidewalks.

That should be harder to do this time around thanks to new technology.


Rental electric scooters make their return to Dallas

The city of Dallas is working to go from an unlimited model to a tightly regulated model of scooters this time around.

"The minute you enter a park or a sidewalk, the scooter will slow to a stop," SuperPedestrian policy manager Jacob Mandel said.

All three brands of scooters are equipped with geo-fencing, which is supposed to keep the scooters off prohibited areas.

Mandel said SuperPedestrian is still fine-tuning the parameters.

There were several people driving scooters on Dallas sidewalks Thursday.

"I hear those concerns, and we're working on trying to solve them," Mandel said.

Mandel also told councilmembers Gay Willis and Paul Ridley, who were at a safety demonstration Thursday, about technology that will track parking of the scooters.

"You'll finish your ride and click end ride on your app and a screen that will pop up is a photo, and you're not able to get out without taking a photo," he explained.

Mandel said parking corrals, like the two that have been set up in Deep Ellum, should help with some of the clutter.

The city is working to install several more in the coming months.

Downtown Dallas Inc's CEO is optimistic about the re-launch.

"Feedback from people who are in town visiting, they can get to the hotel and farmer's market, or up to Klyde Warren Park," Jennifer Scripps said.

Eventually, it could go beyond that. During council discussions, some members said they wanted more equal distribution of scooters around the city.

City leaders hope to help close the mobility gap.

"My hope is the scooters will be our answer to our last-mile transportation problem," Councilman Ridley said. "It's particularly important in Downtown, Uptown, denser parts of the city where we need that kind of last-mile connection."

Riders who violate the rules will be fined. For instance, getting charged $20 for parking the scooters illegally.

Repeat offenders will have their account suspended.