FAYETTEVILLE -- Electric scooter ridership is rolling along in Fayetteville, as shown by the increased revenue the city is seeing from e-scooter permits.
The city passed a law in 2020 outlining vendor permits. It also addressed safety concerns including no-ride zones, reduced speed zones and wattage limits for scooter motors.
City revenue from the permits in 2020 was around $27,000, then rose to $60,000 in 2021 and 2022. Revenue from e-scooter permits has already reached $40,000 in the first five months of 2023 and is expected to surpass the $60,000 precedent.
The city allots $15,000 of the total revenue each year to the trails and mobility program, and the appropriation is on the City Council agenda for Tuesday. Trails Coordinator Matt Mihalevich said that money goes toward scooter parking, education campaigns and other projects to improve alternative transportation. Sometimes the program hands out free handlebar bells to cyclists to encourage better etiquette when passing other trail users.
Despite the predicted revenue increase this year, Mihalevich said there are no plans yet to increase the budget for trails.
"Ultimately, we would like to get more than $15,000 a year going forward, and maybe have it closer to the amount of revenue brought in," he said. "But we're not there yet."
Mihalevich said most of the small budget is used to build scooter parking pads to encourage riders to park responsibly rather than blocking sidewalks and trails, which endangers other riders and cyclists.
Statista, a data gathering company, reports U.S. e-scooter ridership jumped from about 8 million people in 2018 to over 25 million people in 2022.
Dane Eifling, the city mobility coordinator, said the city started with 250 scooters about four years ago. However, it just approved scooter companies Spin and Veo permits to expand to 1,350 scooters combined.
Eifling said he wants to remind people to use the SeeClickFix community tool. The website/app allows users to submit reports about issues in the community such as street maintenance requests, parking violations and now scooter issues.
"Those go directly to me and the Veo and Spin staff," Eifling said. "The crews go out and address the problems, and a lot of times they can respond in a matter of minutes."
Razorback Greenway Manager Tristan Hill said e-scooters can be great for transportation and recreation when people ride responsibly.
"I think anything that encourages people to get out and explore the region's trail system is a net positive," he added.
Print Headline: E-scooter riders roll in money for Fayetteville
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