Get ready, St. Pete – more scooters are coming, and the extended hours of operation have already begun. What started as a program that many city leaders questioned, has now been renewed by a unanimous City Council vote following the conclusion of the 15-month pilot program.
City Council recently voted to extend and expand St. Pete’s scooter operation for another three years after a wildly – and perhaps surprisingly – successful run during the pilot program. The agreement with Veo and Razor (providers of the standing and seated scooters, respectively) could bring the total number of scooters in the Sunshine City to around 1,100, up from the 975 available as of January 31.
Already, scooter rental hours have been extended to run from 5 am – midnight.
This vote came after a study by USF showed an extremely successful trial run. By tracking all scooter riding and associated numbers from October 2020 through the end of January 2022 (covering nearly all of the 15-month pilot program), USF discovered that ridership was far higher than anticipated, while incidents were well lower than many had feared.
Pilot scooter share program deemed successful
During those first 15 months, St. Pete’s scooters provided 372,569 rides, totaling 438,533 miles and a whopping five million minutes of ride time. By contrast, there were only 12 crashes/traffic incidents over the course of the pilot program, seven of which took place on or beside Central Avenue. Check out our helpful video for advice on how to use scooters and avoid accidents.
Perhaps most surprising is that only nine scooters were lost during the program, a sharp contrast from Tampa’s experience where scooters are regularly disappearing or even being thrown into the river. The report credited St. Pete’s use of designated parking corrals that required riders to pick up and drop off scooters at approved locations. St. Pete was one of the first cities nationwide to use corrals, and now plans to add more as a result of their success.
With the new three-year contracts with Veo and Razor, the City will receive up to $280K annually by allowing the two companies to rent scooters. The new agreement also calls for the occasional addition of extra scooters during big events and peak demand seasons.
Riders ask for more pedestrian routes
The study also gathered information from riders, discovering that only around 5% of users were taking scooters to work. Just over 60% percent said they were using scooters for social, dining and entertainment purposes. 41% of users said the scooter rides took the place of a vehicle trip.
Notably, and perhaps unsurprisingly given the ratio of traffic incidents taking place on Central Avenue, the study said riders also expressed a strong interest in more bike lanes and other safe areas for scooter use.
According to the study, St. Petersburg has become a model for how to effectively operate city scooter programs. Learn more about St. Pete’s scooter sharing program, including helpful dos and don’ts, at stpete.org.