Dockless Scooter Ridership Numbers Soar in March

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Dockless Scooter Ridership Numbers Soar in March

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Dockless scooters remain one of the bigger mobility challenges the City of Austin is currently facing.  Seemingly overnight, the scooters hit the streets and their ridership numbers have steadily grown ever since, sending city leaders scrambling for a way to regulate their use.

The month of March has been particularly busy for the scooter industry.  By the city's own numbers, users of dockless scooters have ridden nearly 530,000 miles since the month began, far outpacing the usual monthly average of roughly 300,000 miles.  While South by Southwest most likely inflated the numbers for the month, Jason JonMichael with the Austin Transportation Department says they are still unprecedented.

"Let's just be honest: we are moving more people than the Redline in Manhattan moves in a month, which is the gold standard by which all transit lines in the rest of the United States are compared to," JonMichael told the Urban Transportation Commission on Monday.  "So, from a southern cities perspective, we are doing a lot with scooters and we are moving a lot of people."

This was the first South by Southwest in which scooters were in play.

Dockless scooters remain controversial, in large part due to the numerous complaints lodged over impediments to sidewalks and right-of-ways, as well as the safety hazard some feel they pose to pedestrians.  The Centers for Disease Control is currently finalizing an epidemiological study on the health impacts of scooter use in Austin

On March 28, the Austin City Council will consider a package of resolutions directly related to scooter use, some of which deal with rule enforcement, fines, and helmet mandates for riders under 18. 

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