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Bureau of Transportation's year-long pilot program deploys more electric scooters than ever before.

PMG PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Two electric scooter riders zip down Southwest Naito Parkway in Portland on Saturday, Aug. 17.Portland's electric scooter fleet has scaled up to never-before-seen heights — with 2,630 of the dockless devices now available for hire.

The increase comes after the Portland Bureau of Transportation permitted a sixth e-scooter operator, Bird, to join Spin, Lime, Bolt, Razor and Shared in the increasingly crowded market.

Bird deployed 525 e-scooters on Thursday, Aug. 15. Two other companies met the bureau's criteria for modest allotment increases.

"The pilot continues to perform the way we wanted it to," said bureau spokesman John Brady, "which is to get more data, more experience with this new transportation technology and to continue to see whether it fits with the rest of our transportation system."

Spin is jumping from 525 to 641 e-scooters after meeting a "good partner" benchmark and hosting safety classes, while Bolt will boost its armada from 200 to 214 scooters for also meeting the partner incentive.

Lime is said to be seeking an allotment increase, but their data remains under review.

As part of the application process, PBOT created stretch goals that triggered fleet increases — including implementing "geo-fencing" technology that would prevent improper parking or riding. None of the companies have achieved that lofty goal yet.

There were only about 1,975 scooters on city streets as of mid June. The 120-day scooter pilot in 2018 topped out at 2,043. PBOT admits that e-scooters are still not "reliably available" outside the central city.

Portlanders may recall quite the hubbub after the Multnomah County Sheriff's river patrol hauled nearly 60 of the two-wheelers from the waters of the Willamette River in late June. A recent national study highlighted the heavy pollution caused by manufacturing commercial-use e-scooters, which have a life cycle of two years... at best.

Brady says their response to the wanton scooter destruction is the same as it would be for any type of vandalism: don't do it.

"If people were vandalizing ride-share cars, we would say the same thing," he explained. "Vandalism is illegal."

PMG PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - A cyclist was transported by ambulance to a hospital after a collision with  electric scooter operator Alicia Goss on Aug. 17. Goss, 27, was cited for not wearing a helmet and for riding against traffic.

BY THE NUMBERS:

253,690 — trips logged during the 2019 pilot program's first ten weeks

307,456 — total miles traversed by riders

46 — emergency room trips linked to e-scooter crashes, according to the Multnomah County Health Department

16 — reports of e-scooter collisions

903 — complaints sent to e-scooters companies by the public regarding bad behavior

371 — emails sent to PBOT by the public

340 — total fines and warnings issued by PBOT staff for illegal parking or riding on sidewalks


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