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Omaha City Council rejects second electric scooter pilot program

Posted at 4:26 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 19:58:00-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Omaha City Council rejected to bring another electric scooter pilot program back to Omaha on Tuesday.

The vote failed 3-4. SPIN and BIRD would've been the companies providing scooter service this year, if the vote had passed.

The program would've been another test run as the city was still deciding on making the program permanent.

The city would have added $100 fines for riding on the street, or being under 18 years old.

Council President Chris Jerram wasn't swayed that would help.

“Is that really going to effective? Are we really going to have police, or do we really want police, placed in this position, to be ticketing people and chasing them down?" asked Jerram.

The scooter companies also would have been required to ensure the scooters weren't blocking the sidewalk, and to slow down or stop the scooters in areas like the Old Market and near the arena and ballpark.

They also would have had to clean them once a day.

The cleaning concerned Jerram, since the city is in the middle a pandemic.

“You have multiple riders per day using the same units. And with the other pressing issues going on in our city, the thought creeps into my mind, really right now? Right now, this is when we need to be doing scooters?" says Jerram.

Council members Brinker Harding and Aimee Melton reluctantly voted to allow the trial run to go for another year.

Councilmember Pete Festersen was more enthusiastic.

“I think it is an element of spontaneity and an element of alternative transit for a city our size that it’s important to explore and maintain," says Festersen.

A spokesperson for Mayor Jean Stothert said the mayor would let the vote stand.

Companies would've placed 1,500 scooters total across the city, including in the Old Market, Benson and North Omaha and would've hired local folks as employees.