PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The City of Pensacola is looking at implementing stricter rules for Bird electric scooters in downtown after businesses expressed concerns with the city’s pilot program.
A letter sent to Pensacola City Council Member Casey Jones by the Downtown Improvement Board (DIB) calls on city leaders to address those concerns, which include reckless driving.
Walker Wilson, executive director of the Downtown Improvement Board said the board started to see several complaints come in.
“We started receiving some complaints from some of the downtown businesses in December and November about the use of the Bird scooters in the area,” said Wilson. “We put a poll out to all of our merchants downtown and got a little over 40 responses, mostly negative toward the Bird scooter program.”
There have been reports of e-scooter patrons riding recklessly and impaired after dark and some believe seeing the scooters parked around downtown is an eyesore.
“Many concerns are the blight of them being thrown around downtown on the sidewalks, Wilson said.
“You’ve got customers coming out of stores with folks zipping down sidewalks at 15 miles per hour, large groups of individuals down here late at late racing up and down the streets, so we’re really concerned for everyone’s safety, including those riding the scooters.”
The DIB wants the city to limit the hours the scooters are available from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., create designated pickup and drop off areas and ban them from being used on the sidewalks and in parking garages.
The board also wants the city to set the maximum number of scooters available at 200, require an I.D. to ride them and collect a fee for infrastructure upgrades to make the program safer.
Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson agrees there have been problems with the program.
“We tend to not see as many problems during the daytime hours,” Robinson said. “It generally comes after 10 a.m. that we have significant issues with people not using the scooters appropriately.”
On Monday, Robinson said the city is looking to make changes to the program in response to concerns expressed by business owners and the public. He said there have been accidents on the scooters, especially when riders don’t follow traffic laws.
“We need you to obey the rules that are there and when you don’t, there certainly can be consequences,” Robinson said.
The Pensacola City Council is expected to discuss making changes to the e-scooter pilot program at its meeting next Thursday.