Providence issues regulations on electric scooters, plans pilot program

THE PROVIDENCE Public Works Department has issued regulations regarding the placement and operation of electric scooters in the city on a pilot basis. The regulation comes after electric scooters showed up unannounced in the city. / PBN FILE PHOTO/CHRIS BERGENHEIM

PROVIDENCE – The Providence Department of Public Works has issued a policy regarding electric scooters in the city, following the unannounced appearance of motorized scooters operated by Bird Rides Inc.

The city said it will conduct a yearlong pilot program for the placement and operation of scooters starting Aug. 17. It said the application period was now open.

The guidance has several ordinances and conditions of operation, including a 300 cap on total scooters in the city, a strict policy on placement and operation zones, a defined public right-of-way obstruction and obstruction fine, a requirement for the provision of a $1 million insurance policy to the city, and the payment of a public property repair and maintenance endowment at the time of authorization, among other provisions.

An authorized scooter applicant would not be allowed to operate from dawn to dusk, would be required to share data with the city and would be required to submit an equity plan reviewed and verified by the city’s Department of Planning and Development, and a safety and maintenance plan.

- Advertisement -

Following a spate of unannounced launches across the U.S., many cities have ordered the company to remove the scooters until it has a permit, including in Cambridge, Mass., where scooters appeared the same day as they did in Providence.

A spokesman for Mayor Jorge O. Elorza’s office said companies would have until the launch of the pilot program to come into compliance. Failure to comply could result in the removal and storage of the scooters, according to the city’s ordinance, and the company would be delivered a letter of noncompliance.

The cost of removal and storage, if deemed necessary, would be levied on the company.

The city spokesman said the city had been in contact with Bird Rides, and the company had received the regulation this morning.

Bird Rides did not immediately respond to comment on the regulations. Bird Rides also previously did not respond to press inquiries on its introduction of operations in Providence.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor.