Before Pace bikes arrived in June, the City of Bloomington and IU spent months deliberating on a partnership.
Zagster brought 150 bikes for its Pace dockless bike share in June. But in September with little or no time to prepare, hundreds of scooters arrived without any protocol.
“It’s an unprecedented situation,” city spokeswoman Yael Ksander said.
Bloomington’s strong infrastructure for biking helped Pace start smoothly. Zagster, Bloomington and IU spent months deliberating on an agreement before the launch.
Amanda Turnipseed, director of Parking Operations for IU, said the University has not had any issues with the Pace program. Since starting, Pace has acquired 2,905 members and has an average of .49 trips per bike per day.
Bird deployed about 100 electric scooters in September and Lime dropped off 450 of its electric scooters later that month.
The turmoil caused by the scooters reminded Ksander of the arrival of Uber and Lyft a few years ago. All the companies represent an unprecedented form of transportation with remote operations.
“We have to be flexible,” Ksander said.
Karl Alexander, market manager at Zagster, said it’s too early to tell whether scooters have affected the program’s numbers. As temperatures drop, bike use is expected to decrease.
But he said it’s no secret scooters have higher ridership than bikes.
Lime has clocked more than 100,000 trips since its arrival, according to an email from Lime spokeswoman Lara Beck.
Collaboration with local communities is a central component of Zagster’s business model. Alexander said the company is looking into partnerships with other alternative transportation companies.
“It takes a village to be able to implement new transit solutions in the community,” Alexander said.
Bird deployed its scooters with no warning. Lime contacted the city about 10 days in advance.
“This is a situation where technology is outpacing legislation,” Ksander said.
Several city departments started working to form interim operating agreements with Bird and Lime about a week ago, Ksander said. The agreements would stay in effect until city council passes an ordinance.
The draft agreements would make the scooter companies responsible for injuries and subject to fines for reckless scooter incidents.
Because the scooters operate on city roads, the agreements would also include a compensation fee.
“They’re taking advantage of our amenity, our common good, our right of way,” Ksander said. "That right of way requires a certain amount of expense."
Clarification: A previous version of this story said Zagster is looking into partnerships with the scooter companies Bird and Lime over the next year. The story has been clarified to specify that Zagster is looking into partnerships with other alternative transportation companies, but does not currently have plans to work specifically with Bird and Lime.