OMAHA — Omaha is planning a pilot project for electric scooters that would be available for rent at public spaces and could be left most anywhere in the city.
The scooters would be dockless, meaning they'd have no permanent home. The scooters would have GPS devices so users could find them. The devices would also enable the company that owns the scooters to find and retrieve them to be recharged for more use.
Scooter companies such as Lime and Bird operate across the United States and describe their services as affordable and convenient ways to get around. A company app would let people access the scooters.
The rental cost varies from city to city, but it generally costs $1 to start the scooter and 15 cents per minute of use.
Scott Dobbe, executive director of the urban planning organization Omaha by Design, said the scooters will be a good option for what urban planners call the 'last mile.'
"They can fill a role as an option for those short- to medium-length trips — traversing a few city blocks, or connecting the 'last mile' from a transit stop to home," Dobbe said.
As many as three companies will be chosen for the pilot project, which will run from late March until mid-November. The companies would have to pay for the privilege: $10,000 for a permit, 50 cents per scooter per day, and 5 cents per ride per day.
The scooters likely would be barred from sidewalks and major thoroughfares with far higher speed limits than the scooters can move: about 15 mph.
The GPS technology can keep scooters out of certain areas through "geo-fencing," a virtual boundary that would disable the scooter if it entered a restricted area such as company grounds or a college campus.