Miami has decided cut to the chase. The city government abandons the electric scooter pilot program, thus prohibiting its use by companies of ridesharing. They have had time until today at five in the afternoon to remove all their fleets of scooters that were being shared by the city.
Source of income, but also source of risk
The city of Florida appeared on the covers of several media in 2019, when it had to remove all those scooters before the arrival of a hurricane that could have caused a scooternado with those vehicles literally flying and raining from the sky from high winds.
The decision has been so sudden that has caught companies like Lyft completely off guard, who had services to share those scooters in place in Miami. Caroline Samponaro, vice president at the company, has said that the company is “extremely disappointed” especially for “leaving dozens of people without a job a week before Thanksgiving.” Other companies like Spin also had their services active in the city, and were working on how to implement their AI systems with cameras to alleviate the problems that these scooters usually leave behind.
The problem that led to the decision was the poor safety of the scooters, which “they were being used by children at all hours” as argued by Commissioner Díaz de La Portilla. Only one other commissioner, Ken Russel, has defended scooters, saying they were a source of income ($ 2.4 million so far) that helped finance the creation of bike lanes.
There are possibilities of being able to recover the scooters: the companies can request it and a favorable vote in the city council could give the green light to it. However, seeing that that same city council has decided to put an end to those scooters suddenly, the immediate future does not look too good.
Image | Jonas Jacobsson