A new breed has been added to the fleet of electric scooters zipping across city streets.
Two companies will now field more than 700 e-scooters featuring seats and larger, thicker tires, according to permits approved by the Portland Bureau of Transportation on Friday, June 14.
Razor, a California-based company with operations in eight other cities, will deploy 525 of the sit-down scooters. The Tacoma, Washington firm Shared will add another 200. PBOT says the sedentary scooters were requested during open houses with residents and disability advocates.
"We prioritized accessibility," said Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, "and I am pleased to say that both Razor and Shared delivered."
Lime, Bolt and Spin have already been operating in the Rose City since PBOT authorized a second, year-long test drive on April 26. With the addition of Razor and Shared, there are now 1,975 total e-scooters in service — a slight dip from the 2,043 allowed during the 120-day 2018 trial.
Citing a laudatory article about the last pilot program in the New York Times, PBOT has suggested it has released more data on e-scooters than "any other city in the nation," though the Times didn't specifically report or verify that claim.
The program has not been free of criticism, however.
Some downtown residents say users are ignoring rules requiring helmets, and that laws prohibiting riding on sidewalks or in parks aren't being enforced. Disability Rights Oregon is also concerned that PBOT has shifted the complaint process to the private vendors.
For her part, Commissioner Eudaly says she is focused on making the scooters accessible to all.
"There is still a significant amount of work to be done to achieve equity in transportation, but the addition of seated e-scooters to our local fleet opens up this mode of transport to many more Portlanders," she said.
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