City council tables scooter rideshare program that would help residents fly around Tyler

VIDEO: City council tables scooter rideshare program that would help residents fly around Tyler

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Tyler City Council has tabled a discussion that would bring a scooter rideshare program to various areas of Tyler.

Blue Duck Scooters approached city leaders in March for permission to place dozens of rentable, motor-assisted scooters around town, according to Jimmy Toler, chief of police. Customers would pay to rent the scooter and then leave it at the end of their route to be picked up later by Blue Duck employees.

The measure was tabled for 60 days.

“We were having that conversation today because they want to see what the temperature of the city council is in reference to possibly moving forward, where we’d want to have them at, and then also what rules we’d want to put into place associated with them," said Toler.

Mayor Martin Heines mentioned during Wednesday’s meeting that a trial period could include 20 or 30 scooters, but Blue Duck could deploy as many as 250 throughout the city.

“Right now, they would utilize the right-of-ways; we’re talking about the sidewalks, the areas in front of businesses and stuff like that, that are controlled by the City of Tyler," said Toler. “We want to have that conversation with the universities and colleges or other businesses that’ll be affected.”

For example, Toler said before someone can take the a scooter on to the UT Tyler or Tyler Junior College campus, they must first get permission. If any university, college, or business objected, the city would need to geo-fence the area off so the scooter would quit working in those areas.

“They’re all controlled by GPS, and when you go into these geo-fences, they kind of shut down on you,” Toler explained. “So, we don’t want a bunch of them to start in the downtown area and then all of a sudden there are 250 sitting at UT Tyler without UT Tyler knowing about it.”

The electric scooters can travel around 15 miles-per-hour. Toler added the biggest concern is the safety of residents in terms of where the scooters can go, and how they make it back to their docks. The scooters would be allowed to be on the street, similar to scooters owned by residents, but what city leaders want to discuss is limit areas that could possibly put customers in harms way.

“The last thing we want to do is have it where someone can take a spill and get seriously injured, or you get out in traffic and possibly get killed,” Toler explained. “I think as we move forward, on all of those, you’ll see those questions get addressed.”

A representative with Blue Duck released a statement about the ongoing talks:

“We are working diligently with city council to address their concerns and looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership with the city of Tyler."
Casey Whittington, national director of government affairs

In order to rent the electric scooter, you must be 18-years-old, have a license, and a credit card. The scooters would be available at the same time every morning, and would automatically power down at the same time every night.

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