Bird, Lime and Spin will be the only scooter operators in Atlanta beginning in July – Atlanta Business Chronicle

Different types of scooters will be resting on sidewalks and zooming along the Atlanta Beltline next month.

The changes will include the return of Lime, once one of the city’s largest operators.

The City of Atlanta awarded contracts to vendors providing electric scooters and bikes in May. Lime and only two other companies won approval: Bird and Spin.

VeoRide, which operates the popular sit-down scooters, and Helbiz, which offers scooters and e-bikes, are two of the brands that will no longer be seen in the city beginning July 1.

Collectively, Bird, Lime and Spin will put 1,000 e-bikes on the streets along with 4,500 stand-up electric scooters.

San Fransisco startup Lime is back after the company pulled its scooters from the Atlanta market in January 2020, citing under-performance.

The onset of the pandemic brought scooter service to a halt for the first time since they came to the state in 2018. When rentals in Atlanta resumed in the summer, data showed that riders were using scooters for significantly longer trips than before the pandemic — a trend that has been seen across the country.

The Atlanta DOT incorporated new standards into the latest round of permit applications, including lowering the maximum speed of first rides from 15 mph to 10 mph and requiring an incentive program to encourage better parking.

Ten companies applied to the program this year: Bird, Boaz, Bolt, Helbiz, HOPR, Lime, Spin, Superpedestrian, VeoRide and Wheels.

The city scored the scooter providers on their operations plan, user communication, fleet design and equity strategy. The three companies with the highest scores received the permits.

The city began issuing permits in February 2019 and approved more than 12,000 devices across nine different companies in just six months.

Four people died in scooter accidents during the summer of 2019 and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms suspended the open permitting process in July.

Beginning in late 2019, there was an exodus of scooter companies as the mayor and city council crafted regulations aimed at rider safety. The Atlanta DOT created new guidelines for its Shareable Dockless Mobility Device Program in early 2020.

“We continuously evaluate our program structure and adjust the number of companies and devices to develop the best service for Atlanta,” said Kemberli Sargent, Vision Zero Manager for Atlanta DOT. “Our goal for a successful program includes providing a meaningful transportation option for people while also prioritizing ADA access and pedestrian safety.”

Factors like the city’s limited right-of-way capacity, the emergence of new technologies, and the responsiveness of scooter providers to the city’s requests and regulations drive the adjustments, she said.

When the permits opened again in March of 2020, the process offered limited permits to four companies.

Bird, Helbiz, Spin, and VeoRide have been operating between 3,200 and 6,500 electric scooters and bikes in Atlanta over the past 12 months.

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