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Electric Scooters Come to Charlotte

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Charlotte is the third city on the East Coast to get electric scooters, following Washington, D.C. in March and Miami in April.

Charlotte, North Carolina is the latest city to have electric scooters available for rent.

Lime (formerly called LimeBike) launched scooter service in the Queen City Tuesday with demonstrations at a light-rail station during the lunch hour. The scooters are unlocked with a smartphone app; rentals cost $1 to unlock plus 15 cents per minute.

Electric scooters have launched in cities across the country, sometimes sparking controversy when municipalities aren’t prepared for the accompanying problems the vehicles can bring.

In San Francisco, the scooter proliferation has led to vandalization, people illegally riding on sidewalks and parked scooters blocking walkways, CNBC reports. City administrators have received complaints from thousands of residents, including some who have been injured by scooters.

To address the problem, San Francisco instituted a new permit process that will limit the number of scooters to 1,250 for the entire city and require companies to register them with the Municipal Transit Authority. That policy retroactively addresses a key complaint among city officials: that scooter companies sidestepped government regulations by implementing the technology before the statutes could catch up.

“It would be very nice if the tech bros could come in and ask in a collaborative fashion for permission rather than after-the-fact forgiveness,” San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin said at a meeting in which the city was considering scooter regulations, Pew Charitable Trusts reports.

But the scooters have fared better in Southern cities with hillier geography and hotter weather. In some cases they perform better than traditional bike shares, which many residents eschew for fear of showing up to work or business meetings drenched in sweat.

Lime is one of a handful companies welcomed by the city of Charlotte since November as part of a pilot program to test whether bike-sharing will work there. Charlotte is the third city on the East Coast to get electric scooters, following Washington, D.C. in March and Miami in April.

Kate Elizabeth Queram is a Staff Correspondent for Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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