The City of Gainesville and UF are teaming up on a pilot program to allow city residents to rent electric scooters starting Monday.
“We join cities and campuses nationwide that are adopting safe and sustainable transportation alternatives to help alleviate traffic congestion and enable access to popular, alternative mobility options,” Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe said in a statement. “As always, the safety of our neighbors is our top priority, and we ask everyone to use caution and follow all safety guidelines when operating e-scooters.”
The Gainesville City Commission granted final approval to the one-year pilot program at its last meeting. The city said the cooperative effort aims to “regulate the safe use and operation of the shared micromobility vehicles on campus and around town.”
Three of the nation’s largest micromobility companies—Bird, Spin and Veo—will provide and service the rechargeable, battery-powered. The companies operate in cities across Florida and focus on environmentally sustainable, durable and safe transit solutions.
“The university is pleased to help bring this new transportation option to our campus and community,” said Scott Fox, senior director of UF’s Transportation and Parking Services, said in a statement. “We are grateful to the City of Gainesville for exemplary planning and collaboration with us, and to the three successful vendors for their commitment to ensuring a smooth and safe rollout of this exciting program.”
According to a city press release, riders (18 and older) will use a vendor’s smartphone app to locate, unlock, rent and return the e-scooters to designated areas 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Outside the designated hours, the e-scooters will not be visible on the app nor available for rent (per minute).
Each scooter is equipped with GPS technology to enable the enforcement of geofenced areas such as no-parking zones, no-ride zones and special-event parking zones. E-scooter speed is capped at 15 mph, and Florida statutes classify the vehicles in the same category as bicycles. Riders must follow the same rules of the road as cyclists, the city said, including riding in bike lanes wherever possible and obeying all posted speed limits and road signage.