Officials in St. George hope to keep e-scooters long-term after a six-month hiatus because. When the program began in 2019, the introduction was successful. A year later, however, the company managing the scooter fleet did not renew its contract with Spin, the e-scooter company.
When the partnership began, Spin, a unit of Ford Motor Company, provided more than 200 scooters to St. George. Boston-based Zagster picked up the management and maintenance duties. When Zagster failed to renew its partnership with Spin, St. George officials were left trying to determine how to proceed.
According to city officials, the demand for scooters is present. In one year, more than 124,000 scooter rides were taken with an average of 21 minutes per trip. The most common users included Dixie State University students, residents visiting recreational paved trails, and tourists looking for a unique way to get around the city. The benefits of the e-scooters include easing issues of congestion and pollution, as well as improving road safety.
The city conducted a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, which resulted in several companies submitting bids on providing St. George with an alternative solution. According to Marc Mortensen, St. George director of support services, “When we went out for the requests for proposals, we wanted to make sure things were on a fair playing field and that we had the best option for St. George to bring back the scooters.” The city eventually chose to go back to Spin.
St. George decided to go back to Spin because officials were offered incentives that included 24-hour recharging stations with the capability of servicing up to six scooters at a time, social media outreach on Apple App Store and Google Play, and hiring a hull-time local team to take care of solving problems and accommodating rapid changes in demand.
In addition to that, Spin will also fund demonstration projects to evaluate ways to expand the city’s Micromobility and active transportation goals. Instead of using a third-party for hardware, maintenance, warehouse, marketing, and investments, Spin will handle those matters.
According to Alex April, senior government partnerships manager at Spin, “We are thrilled to be coming back to St. George for a bunch of reasons. It’s a really great market and the city has been really nimble and wonderful to work with. Along with making investments in infrastructure, the city has been very forward-thinking about alternative modes of transportation.”