Scooters to launch in Provo Thursday

By Liesl Nielsen, | Posted - Aug 5th, 2019 @ 3:45pm

PROVO — Love them or hate them, electric scooters have taken over not only Salt Lake City, but Ogden, Farmington, St. George, Draper and Sandy.

Now they’re coming to Provo.

About 200 Spin scooters and 100 bikes will be deployed in the city’s downtown Thursday and, depending on demand, more will appear throughout Provo in the weeks following, Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi announced on Twitter.

The scooters’ launch is a one-year pilot program that won’t cost the city anything, Kaufusi said during a recent Facebook Live announcement. After a year, the city will reevaluate and decide whether it will continue the program.

“This is an experiment. We are here to see how it goes, how the citizens adapt and embrace. And after a year, we will evaluate,” Kaufusi added.

Riders over 18 with a valid driver’s license can download the Spin app, activate the scooter for $1, then ride it for 15 cents a minute, capping it at $10 an hour. Users may ride the scooters anywhere bikes are allowed, then leave the scooter next to a building or a curbside parking zone where it won’t disrupt pedestrians or cars.

Electric scooters are a popular mode of transportation among students and commuters who use them as last-mile transportation from bus stops or train stations, said Provo's parking and sustainability coordinator Austin Taylor.

The scooters will be collected at 9 p.m. each night by local employees with Zagster, the company that has partnered with Spin to accelerate the scooters’ growth across the country. Instead of remaining on the streets as other scooters often do, the Spin scooters will be maintained and charged overnight before they’re deployed again the next morning, Zagster spokesman Jeff Montgomery said during the Facebook Live announcement.

Spin is different from other scooter companies in this way, he added. The company partners with the city before releasing the scooters and is very focused on ensuring that they’re deployed in the areas that need them most.

“Myself and my team trace the whole country, … and Provo is one of the most gorgeous towns I’ve stepped foot into,” Montgomery said. “This entire week, I’ve just been wondering about how, one day, maybe my career interests (will allow me to) move out here. Cause it’s just so clean and nice, and I don’t want the scooter economy or micro-mobility economy to negatively impact such a well-groomed, well-run town.”

Provo will be hosting a launch event with free rides, practice routes and other activities on Thursday at 10 a.m. at 200 E. 700 North.

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