KC starting pilot program to gather data on electric scooters and their functionality

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dockless, electric scooters rolled into Kansas City earlier this year. Now, city leaders are gathering input on how these shared modes of transportation are working, or not, on the city scene.

On Wednesday, they discussed information about a pilot program for e-scooters, e-bikes and other forms of "shared active transportation."

The city is accepting a request for proposals for vendors. They will compete to be part of the pilot program. More than one company will be selected.

Companies will pay a permit and license fees to be in the program. They'll be able to operate in KC, and the city will gather data from them.

The city will then use the data to see if any revisions to the city code are necessary. For example, the data will help them determine if Kansas City needs more bike lanes or scooter parking and the impact on the infrastructure.

The pilot program will last a year and is also set to help the city evaluate riding in all weather and during special events and emergencies.

FOX4 talked to a Bird scooter rider who said he hopes the data collected from the pilot program makes things safer for riders.

"Maybe require a helmet. Maybe an extra bike lane will help just because it doesn't feel that safe when you're riding it, especially with traffic downtown," Ivan Cardenas said.

Leaders had a question and answer period Wednesday with residents and representatives from scooter companies.

"It’s about providing more mobility options for all of our residents, and when we say all of our residents, we really mean it," said Chris Hernandez, spokesman for Kansas City. "There’s an element of social equity here, and we want to make sure that these companies are serving every single neighborhood in the city."

The pilot program is expected to launch in the spring of next year. Proposals are due to the city by mid-February.

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