As the weather warms, Birds and Limes are seen speeding through campus and down Kirkwood Avenue again. A third electric scooter company — Spin — plans to join them.
The Ford-owned company has not given an indication of a launch date or how many scooters it will bring but has been working with the city, said Alex Crowley, director of Bloomington’s Economic and Sustainable Development Department.
“Spin’s approach is ‘We’ll do all the approval work first and then shift to operationalizing the launch,’” he said.
Because of this caution, Spin’s launch should not cause as many problems as Bird and Lime did in the fall, Crowley said.
“The key is to not have this chaotic launch where you have scooters blocking the right of way and the whole thing’s a mess,” he said.
The Board of Public Works approved an interim operating agreement with Spin at its April 2 meeting, Michael Large, administrative office manager for the Public Works Department, said in an email.
This is the same agreement scooter companies Bird and Lime signed retroactively after launching in Bloomington in the fall.
Crowley said Bloomington City Council has been discussing more permanent scooter regulations to replace the interim operating agreement, including rules for parking, use, safety and enforcement.
The council plans to vote on the regulations Wednesday night.
Crowley said if the ordinances are too burdensome for companies and users, it is possible Spin will not launch, but that is not likely.
IU junior Curtis Hill has been riding Limes since shortly after they arrived in Bloomington.
“I first thought it was really lame,” he said. “I saw a bunch of people falling, and I wasn’t into it. But then I missed my bus, and I found one and downloaded the app, and it was super helpful. Now I’m really lazy, and I don’t like to walk around campus.”
Hill said he is not opposed to downloading the new app and trying Spin.
“If they give better deals, it’s all about the deals,” he said, before taking off down Kirkwood Avenue on a Lime.
Freshman Lana Miramontes has only ridden an electric scooter once. She said she likes them but gets frustrated when she’s almost hit by one whizzing past her on a sidewalk.
“I don’t really see a need for a third party when there’s already a ton of Birds and Limes everywhere,” she said. “I’m not really opposed to it because they don’t really affect me, but I just see there being a lot of them on campus if there’s a third party.”
Crowley said most of the public’s concerns revolve around how many scooters a third company will add to the city. But he said as the companies learn what the city can and can’t handle, they will manage themselves accordingly.
“Philosophically, there’s no problem for another company to come,” he said. “The question is whether or not all three will stay long term or what the market decides is the best number of companies.”
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