Milwaukee is getting more electric scooters, despite a recent threat from the city’s mayor to possibly ban them.
Bird and Spin are set to join Lime in offering the rentable electric scooters. Each of the three companies will have 350 scooters available. Milwaukee originally looked to cap its scooter fleet at 750, but the new agreement will allow for just over 1,000 scooters.
“Each operator’s allowed fleet plan has been scaled back to ensure the number of scooters in circulation are manageable and being used properly,” said Department of Public Works (DPW) Commissioner Jeff Polenske in a statement released Saturday. “We will frequently assess the fleet size and determine if adjustments need to be made.”
The increase in both the number of scooters and the number of scooter companies is the first adjustment for Milwaukee’s scooter program.
Mayor Tom Barrett said earlier this month that he wanted to suspend the scooters because too many people were riding on the sidewalks.
DPW said 17 percent of the people it observed didn’t ride in the street.
Wisconsin lawmakers agreed to rules that legalize the scooters statewide in the spring. Gov. Tony Evers signed the law to legalize them in July. Just days later, Milwaukee’s Common Council approved the local rules that opened the door for the scooters.
The scooters are incredibly popular. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that in the first week where people could rent them, between July 23rd and August 1st, nearly 25,000 people took a ride. That is more than the average weekly ridership of Mayor Barrett’s pet project The Hop, a streetcar that began service in Milwaukee in November 2018.
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.