In an effort to improve transportation options for residents and visitors, Jacksonville, Florida has announced the start of a one-year Downtown electric scooter and electric bicycle pilot program. The program launched on March 4 with four dockless mobility companies.
Rentals of dockless electric scooters and bicycles for short trips in Downtown areas have been growing in popularity in Florida, as well as the rest of the United States. Jacksonville is the last of Florida’s major cities to try this type of program.
According to the Downtown Investment Authority, riders can rent and drop-off e-scooters 24 hours per day at 35 different sidewalk corrals throughout Downtown Northbank. The dockless mobility companies participating in the pilot include Blue Duck of San Antonio, SPIN of San Francisco, LINK of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Helbiz Inc. of New York City. The companies were selected by the Planning and Development Department staff over the past 12 months through an application and permitting process.
City Council originally approved the pilot program framework in February 2020. While Ordinance 2020-0026-E allows for both e-scooters and e-bicycles, the vendors involved are starting by only offering electric scooters. If the response is positive, the e-bikes will be added.
Accessing a scooter is as easy as scanning a QR code through each company’s smartphone app. The scooters cost $1 to unlock. The rates for travel depend on the e-scooter provider. All of the e-scooters and e-bikes are outfitted with a battery that powers the electric motor. The companies use geofencing to detect when a scooter leaves the Downtown dockless mobility boundaries.
City Council is allowing e-scooters in the following areas:
- Northbank bounded by Beaver Street to the north
- Bay Street to the south including Metropolitan Park
- Gator Bowl Boulevard to the east
- Jacksonville Transportation Authority Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center to the west
The city hopes to expand program boundaries to include other areas of Downtown and neighborhoods like San Marco, Riverside, and Brooklyn.
The e-scooters are offered and stored in drop-off and pickup corrals. According to the program parameters, the corrals have to be installed on sidewalks that are at least eight feet wide. Corrals are allowed in other areas, but restrictions apply.
While this program has the potential to provide Jacksonville with a new, green mode of transportation, it has yet to be seen how the public will interact with the vehicles. In the event of an accident, serious injuries are possible. If you find yourself in a situation like that, the Rideshare Law Group can help. Contact us for more information.