GNV eyes change for micromobility program

Gainesville General Policy Committee on micromobility program
Gainesville General Policy Committee discused the first year of the micromobility program on Thursday. (Courtesy City of Gainesville)

Gainesville’s micromobility pilot program finished its first year in June, and at Thursday’s General Policy Committee meeting the commission heard a presentation on how the electric scooters, and now bikes, have been used.  

Three vendors — VEO, Bird and Spin — run the programs, with each deploying up to 200 units. Malisa McCreedy, the city’s director of transportation, said in the first year, around 191,623 trips had been taken for a median of 1 mile, or 7 minutes, per trip. 

The City of Gainesville collects a portion of the cost to ride — $1 to unlock the scooter and $.39 per minute of ride time plus tax. The city used $43,000 that they earned to pay for a program coordinator on staff. Another $6,000 has gone toward the city’s Vision Zero 5-year plan.  

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McCreedy highlighted the new launch of seated scooters by VEO. She said trips have gotten longer with the seated scooter.  

She also pointed out that trips started in the city’s Equity Zone, centered on the intersection of W University Avenue and SE Hawthorne Road, last even longer. The average sits around 2.25 miles or 20 minutes. 

Currently, the vendors are required to keep at least 10% of their fleet in the zone, and 11,482 trips have started their over the past year. 

McCreedy also said UF game days produce a boost in usage, and UF already makes up the majority of the usage. UF created a separate deal with the vendors, and both the city and university plans include certain areas where riders are forced to slow down or dismount. 

Micromobility route map
Courtesy City of Gainesville Micromobility route map

Gainesville started installing parking bays in the spring and plans to add a few more.  

So far, McCreedy said the Gainesville Police Department has reported only seven crashes with the vendors reporting 10 additional ones. That puts the city’s crash rate at nine per 100,000 rides.  

Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos said the program was just a pilot. Now, the commission can make changes as it sees fit. He suggested lowering the age of allowed riders and allowing rides past 10 p.m., the current shut off time. 

“People can drive a massive Ford F-350, but they’re not allowed to drive or rent a 60-pound scooter,” Hayes-Santos said at the meeting. 

The program limits riders to 18 years and older, but the commissioners acknowledged younger riders are prevalent. Hayes-Santos said they might as well open up to at least 16-year-olds.  

He also said usage during the 9 p.m. hour remains high and estimated that the city would see good numbers if they expanded the time as well.  

Commissioner Reina Saco supported extending the hours. She also asked if vendors could start adding devices.  

McCreedy said vendors would need to meet the 3 trips per unit per day in order to expand fleets according to the guidelines.  

Hayes-Santos presented a motion to make a revised ordinance that edits the hours and age for scooter use. The exact change to those two categories will be left to the city manager’s office in partnership with the city attorney.  

The motion passed unanimously.  

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