PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Pensacola city leaders said while Pensacola’s electric scooter pilot program has its perks, like mobility and environmental benefits, the e-scooters have been causing problems.
“(We’ve had) a number of issues dealing with the scooters,” said Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson. “I’ll be the first one to say we have had challenges, but I think we are working through them.”
Pensacola city leaders have worked for months to get the city’s e-scooter pilot program under control. Robinson said reports of inappropriate use of the scooters have slowed down lately after the council voted to shut them down after midnight. But more residents have started reporting the scooters are being left on sidewalks, creating hazards for pedestrians said Robinson.
To combat these issues, the city will soon require all riders of Bird and Veo e-scooters to park in parking corrals, which the city got equipment for this week.
“They have to use it, and if they don’t put them in the correct corral, they could get a fine,” said Robinson. “We want (riders) to figure out how to park in the corrals we’re going to provide, and we hope we can cure the parking problem.”
Councilwoman Sherri Myers, who attended Robinson’s weekly press conference on Monday, said she is fed up with the scooters and the problems they’re causing — particularly for those with disabilities.
“When these sidewalks are obstructed with scooters, they are violating the rights of people with disabilities,” said Myers. “And they’re violating their contract, and I have found no evidence that they are taking these complaints seriously.”
The city has the option to extend Bird and Veo’s operating permits, which both expire during summer. Councilwoman Myers said wants them gone.
“They’re parked in the middle of sidewalks. They’re obstructing the path of travel for pedestrians, and they’re also misused, so I don’t support extending the program,” said Myers. “They’ve had plenty of time. Time is up.”
Robinson agreed there were issues with the program but said he hopes it can be extended a few more months in hopes the parking corrals will help solve some of the issues.
“We have some people who use them incorrectly, but I would say we have people downtown who use cars incorrectly,” said Robinson. “We’re not getting rid of cars.”
Pensacola City Council will discuss the issue at its meeting Thursday.