Overland Park to consider new electric scooter pilot program

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Soon people could be using electric scooters to get around Overland Park. 

Overland Park City Traffic Engineer Brian Shields said the city has been approached by electric scooter companies Lime and Bird to establish a scooter pilot program. 

“I think it’s something that a lot of people are familiar with and have seen. So its one of those things we want to see what we can provide,” Shields said. 

If approved by the city, each contracted company would provide a set number of scooters and disperse them throughout the city. Each company would be responsible for scooter fleet maintenance and reporting rider data back to the city to determine the success of the pilot program. 

Shields said it’s still early in the planning stage, but if an agreement is reached the city could create a contract with one or both companies to offer a fleet of scooters for public use later this year. 

“We’d have to go through our municipal code and actually make some changes to make some of those a little bit more evident as far as whether they can ride on the sidewalks or only in the streets,” Shields said. 

If approved by the city council, the pilot program would last 12 to 18 months. Shields said it’s too early in the planning process to determine how many scooters will be available for the public to use. He said if city leaders follow similar guidelines as the 2019 Bike Share study, each vendor could potentially supply up to 400 scooters throughout the city. 

Shields said if city leaders wanted to proceed with plans to create a scooter pilot program, staff would negotiate an agreement that would not require the use of additional city funds.

“We didn’t do this or think about this in terms of will this generate revenue for the city,” Shields said. “It was one of those things were we at least wanted to be revenue neutral.We didn’t want it to cost the city money.If we are able to make some money, that will be all the better” 

The cost for a single ride on an electric scooter will be determined by the scooter manufacturer. Both Bird and Lime require users to pay using a mobile app. 

“You would maybe find these of great benefit in areas where there is a large concentration of potential users like in the downtown Overland Park area or maybe over at the community college,” Shields said. 

The Overland Park Public Works Commission will discuss the proposed pilot program on April 28 at 7 p.m. 

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