Dallas officials are considering allowing more e-scooter units in the city, but some argue that vendors must first address existing issues.
Gus Khankarli, director of the Dallas Transportation Department, and Kathryn Rush, transportation chief planner, appeared before a committee meeting on Monday to discuss the possibility of adding more units to the city, reported The Dallas Morning News. Entities such as Downtown Dallas Inc. had reported that it was difficult for them to find any of the hundreds of scooters to use.
Khankarli told members during the meeting that their stakeholders require a recalibration of 30% or 35% in the core area, taking into account the program limit of only up to 25% of units in areas such as Deep Ellum, uptown, and downtown. Council members, however, remained resolute in addressing safety concerns posed by those using the scooters improperly, such as riding on sidewalks.
Council Member Omar Narvaez said he would not consider adding more units in the city until the vendors address the unresolved safety issues.
“I don’t trust them. I’m not willing to give them more,” said Narvaez, according to the DMN. “I’d rather stay where we’re at with zero changes until they can come through with the things they told us they were going to do.”
Rush said that although vendors could not prevent scooter users from riding on sidewalks, they were exploring adding sensors and cameras that could detect such occurrences. Rush proposed that program changes include an extension of the ride time parameters.
“The actual result of that was that people were getting stranded mid-ride on their way to their destination when rides would cut off at exactly 9 p.m.,” said Rush, according to the DMN. “So now we intend to clarify that language to say that rides can only start between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m., but then all rides must stop by 10.”
E-scooters returned to Dallas in May after a two-year hiatus, with units from Bird, Superpedestrian, and Lime hitting city streets. The returning program brought 1,350 e-scooters, 100 seated scooters, 45 e-bikes, and five assisted scooters to the city, particularly in areas where there were previously fewer units, as reported by The Dallas Express.
Since their reintroduction, however, the units have been a thorn in the side of some Dallas residents as the city has received hundreds of complaints, particularly about improper parking of the scooters and injuries from collisions.
No decisions on amending the e-scooter program were made during Monday’s meeting.