Fleets of free-floating scooters, bikes, and e-bikes for-hire are popping up in dozens of American cities.
The enlargement of nimble, largely human-powered automobiles for point-to-point journeys has a variety of promise. Most journeys in cities are lower than a couple of miles lengthy. The brand new providers additionally pose a couple of challenges, like the right way to forestall an inflow of smaller automobiles from cluttering sidewalks.
This week, the Nationwide Affiliation of Metropolis Transportation Officers launched tips to assist cities handle these providers with out getting taken for a journey. Right here’s a evaluation of NACTO’s suggestions.
1. Arrange parking zones for the automobiles on the street.
To stop the automobiles from getting in individuals’s approach on the sidewalk, present area for them on the street. One official in DC, for instance, has proposed including bike corrals on the finish of each block. It makes intersections safer, and it’s solely honest contemplating the big quantity of curb area cities have dedicated to free automotive storage.
2. Firms, not the general public, ought to cowl the price of maintaining their fleets so as.
To pay for employees and gear to area complaints about errant automobiles and set up new racks for the bikes and scooters, cities ought to cost charges that approximate these prices. One-time utility charges and recurring charges per car are each employed. The important thing precept NACTO recommends is to set the charges to roughly match the general public prices incurred by the providers.
3. Firms may be required to take away bikes or scooters which are blocking the suitable of approach in a set time period.
A variation on #2: If cities don’t need to spend employees time responding to complaints about misplaced bikes, they will require firms to deal with them — or pay a price.
4. Reductions for low-income residents and honest fleet distribution.
Chicago requires firms to supply a money cost choice so unbanked individuals can entry the providers. In Los Angeles, firms should waive the deposit price for residents incomes lower than 200 p.c of the federal poverty threshold and to supply a reduction money buy choice. Some cities — together with DC — even have guidelines mandating fleet distribution to make a sure variety of automobiles accessible in lower-income neighborhoods.
5. Firms needs to be required to have insurance coverage that indemnifies the town.
6. Journey information needs to be accessible in an open, customary format.
The open information customary for bike-share is known as the Common Bike Share Feed Specification, and cities ought to insist that firms launch their journey information on this format, which covers the origin and vacation spot of journeys and anonymized real-time location information of automobiles. As well as, firms ought to compile common summaries of complete journeys, misplaced or broken automobiles, collisions, and complaints about misplaced automobiles.
7. Autos needs to be inspected and maintained on an everyday schedule set by the town.
Cities have a duty to make sure the fleets are protected. NACTO recommends mandating that bike-share fleets meet the Shopper Product Security Fee requirements for bicycles, and that the businesses can remotely lock any automobiles which have reported security issues.
8. Broken or unsafe automobiles should be eliminated inside a sure timeframe.
As soon as a criticism has been lodged a few car, a clock ought to begin ticking for firms to reply, or else pay small penalty. Los Angeles, Durham, and Denver give firms 24 hours to deal with complaints. In Austin, it’s as little as 4 hours.