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PBOT has sent five companies letter of intent to join dockless e-scooter pilot

Promotional image from Bird, one of the companies Portland is in contact with.
(Photo: @Bird on Instagram)

The Oregonian has just reported on a letter sent from PBOT Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Director Leah Treat that solidifies the City’s intention to allow private companies to test dockless e-scooters in Portland this summer.

“… Companies could be notified by in the next couple weeks with more information,” The Oregonian reporter Andrew Theen writes, “Portland sent the letter to Skip, Spin, LimeBike, Bird and Goat.”

Here’s the text of the letter (dated May 29th):

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is planning a four-month pilot for dockless electric scooters beginning this summer (the “Pilot Period”). The pilot will help the City of Portland determine whether dockless e-scooters can support the City’s equity, mobility, and climate action goals.

To operate a scooter share business as part of the pilot, private companies must apply for and receive a business license and a permit, and comply with the terms therein throughout the pilot period. PBOT will seek input broadly from the public during the pilot. At the end of the Pilot Period, City officials will determine whether and under what circumstances e-scooter sharing will be permitted to continue operating in the public right-of-way.

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Throughout the pilot, providers will be expected to report on and mitigate impacts in several areas of concern that either the City has, or that have arisen in other cities where e-scooter companies are operating. These include (but are not limited to):

• Pedestrian safety
• Safety and access for people with disabilities
• Compliance with state law (including helmet requirements and prohibition on sidewalk riding)
• Anonymized data about trip origin, destination and length

In addition to gathering data and public input relating to the issues identified above, at the end of the Pilot Period, PBOT will seek to understand the potential benefits and burdens in relation to the City’s equity goals. Development of the test pilot and permit process is underway.

Please respond to Steve Hoyt-McBeth at 503.823.7191; steve.hoyt-mcbeth@portlandoregon.gov if your company is interested in participating in the pilot. PBOT staff will contact you by mid-June with more information.

Finally, we remind all potential e-scooter operators that no shared e-scooters are allowed on City right-of-way in advance of or outside the permitted e-scooter pilot process. Failure to adhere to this restriction will result in confiscation of equipment and fines.

The City of Portland has a history of successful collaboration with private sector partners that offer new transportation options. We expect open, timely and honest communication from each company operating in this Pilot Period. Any company found to have violated the terms of the pilot rules may be precluded from further permitting, including prohibitions on other services your company may offer. We also seek to make this Pilot Period open and fair to all e-scooter providers. Therefore, any discovery or attempts by companies to impinge on others will be a violation of pilot rules. We look forward to a productive and informative e-scooter pilot process.

More details via The Oregonian.

If you’re curious about this whole scooter thing, read this article from The Atlantic that came out yesterday.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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