Dallas, Texas – Several years following their ban from the streets of Dallas due to mounting problems, shared electric scooters and bicycles have once again ventured back into the urban landscape this past May, operating under a revamped set of regulations and represented by a small group of vendors.
There have been nearly 700 electric scooters issues reported so far
A memorandum dispatched by the Dallas City Council Members on a recent Friday made a mention of a staggering 674 complaints lodged against the shared scooter and bicycle service between May and the 17th of July, either via the Dallas 311 service or digitally.
According to Jessica Scott, a representative of the Dallas Transportation Department, these complaints primarily revolved around the improper stationing or storage of the vehicles.
The process in place requires that any such grievances are forwarded directly to the vendors, who are then obliged to swiftly resolve the issues at hand.
“We’re extremely satisfied with the response that the operators are showing. They’re improving rapidly. And for now, we’re satisfied with that response and really just allowing some time for these growing pains to resolve,” Scott said as reported by NBC DFW.
Bird, Lime, and Superpedestrian are each allowed 500 electric scooters in Dallas
The recently initiated “dockless vehicle program” contrasts starkly with its previous iteration. The current state of affairs only allows for a trio of companies – Bird, Lime, and Superpedestrian – each permitted to operate a maximum of 500 scooters or bikes, thereby capping the total number at a mere 1,500, as opposed to the earlier mass influx of vehicles and competing vendors.
The application of fresh technology ensures that these vehicles automatically cease operation if they are being used in unpermitted locations or times. However, according to Stephanie Keller Hudiberg, the head of the Deep Ellum Foundation, this feature seems to be malfunctioning across a number of scooters.
“The scooters are not all shutting off at 9 p.m. like they are supposed to. There’s still changes that need to be made in the program,” Hudiberg said. “So far in Deep Ellum, our stakeholders are not pleased to see the firms are not always abiding by the rules the city has set, that the city worked for a year to set.”
In addition to the required technological adjustments, Hudiberg suggested the necessity of additional parking corrals to prevent the cluttering of sidewalks with scooters. Riders are specifically instructed to refrain from riding on the sidewalks or obstructing them by parking their vehicles.
Most electric scooters complaints come from the Deep Ellum and Downtown Dallas regions
The majority of the complaints have originated from the Deep Ellum and Downtown Dallas regions, where Jennifer Scripps, who helms the downtown business group, Downtown Dallas Inc., spoke about the challenges of changing user behavior. Despite these challenges, she affirmed the responsiveness of the vendors to her group’s attempts to refine the program, highlighting it as a promising low-emission mobility solution.
“It’s that last mile of transportation. It gets them from a DART stop to a job site or a school,” Scripps said.
In the quest for improved air quality and increased mobility, the City of Dallas is keen on ensuring the success of this program, even though penalties for vendors or users violating the rules have not been enforced yet.
“There haven’t been penalties per se but we have been in communication with the operators outlining our expectations,” Scott said.
City officials are diligently collating data related to shared scooters and bikes, which will serve as the basis for potential alterations to the rules if deemed necessary.