A part-time temp worker documents an improperly parked scooter at 6th & Walnut streets Oct. 11, 2022
North Walnut Street Feb. 21, 2023 (This scooter was reported to the city and moved out of the ADA ramp by The B Square.
North Walnut Street Feb. 23, 2023. These scooters were reported to the city and moved out of the sidewalk by The B Square.
In late 2021, The B Square reported that no citations had been issued to scooter companies for violating the parking regulations laid out in a local ordinance, which was approved by the city council in July 2019.
When no ordinary parking tickets were issued to scooter companies, that came as a surprise to some residents—given the number of scooters they routinely encountered blocking ADA ramps and sidewalks in the downtown area, or in their residential neighborhoods.
The lack of any citations was especially unexpected, in light of the assurance given by city attorney Mike Rouker on July 31, 2019— the night the city council enacted the scooter ordinance. Rouker said that if scooter parking became a problem, parking fines would be imposed on scooter companies whenever the city saw a parking problem.
In August 2022, The B Square raised a question to Bloomington’s corporation counsel, Beth Cate, about the enforceability of the city’s ordinance that regulates shared electric scooter parking. That email went unanswered.
But last week, six months later, Bloomington’s director of economic and sustainable development, Alex Crowley, wrote in response to an emailed question from The B Square: “[T]he language in the ordinance needs to be tightened up, to give us the flexibility to impose fines on [scooter company] without having to impound.” Continue reading “Bloomington concedes: Simple tickets can’t be given to scooter companies for bad parking by their users”
A temporary city of Bloomington employee documents a scooter parking violation. (Oct. 11, 2022)
The approval of contract renewal that would allow the Bird scooter company to continue to use the public right of way to do business in Bloomington was pulled from the Tuesday meeting agenda for the board of public works (BPW).
The item is also not expected to appear on the agenda for the very next BPW meeting. But it could appear on the board’s Nov. 22 agenda, possibly along with the contract renewals for the two other companies doing business in Bloomington—Lime and VeoRide.
Under the terms of the scooter contracts, companies pay the city $10,000 year for a license, and 15 cents for each ride their customers take.
The reason the contract was pulled off this week’s agenda was given at Tuesday’s meeting during the staff report from public works director Adam Wason. “After some communications from some city councilmembers and others yesterday about the renewals, city staff in coordination with the mayor’s office and legal decided that we were going to pull this from the agenda at this time while we do some further coordination with both the university and the city council,” Wason said.
Wason added, “Part of that is going to be some evaluation of some data and combined conversation with the university and their team that are working on scooter issues.”
The pushback from councilmembers stems from long-brewing frustration over blockage of ADA ramps and sidewalks by parked scooters, and the city’s apparent decision not to impose fines for the infractions.
That’s after the council was assured at a public meeting in July 2019 by the city attorney that fines would be imposed for any parking violation, if they approved the ordinance allowing scooter companies to operate in Bloomington. Continue reading “Scooter contract renewal pulled from Bloomington BPW agenda, pending more review”
Compared to late summer last year, there are 50 percent more shared electric scooters staged around Bloomington, waiting for prospective riders.
But the 50-percent bigger fleet has generated just 13 percent more rides.
Those numbers are based on the city of Bloomington’s public dataset of scooter activity. Included in the dataset are daily records of the number of rides and the number of available scooters for each of the three scooter companies that are allowed to do business using the public right-of-way.
By the numbers, between Aug. 14 and Sept. 14 of 2021 the total average number of available scooters (counting all three companies) each day was 454, compared to 690 for the same period in 2022. That’s a 50-percent increase.
Between Aug. 14 and Sept. 14 of 2021, the total average number of rides given (counting all three companies) each day was 2,051, compared to 2,309 in 2022. That’s a 13-percent increase.
That means the three companies overall are generating fewer rides per available scooter.
The rides-per-available scooter stat is important, because it’s part of the contractual agreement between each scooter company and the city of Bloomington.
If a company doesn’t hit a minimum number of rides-per-scooter each calendar month, the city is supposed to be able to reduce the allowable number of scooters the company can make available in the public right-of-way. Continue reading “Lots more electric scooters in Bloomington, but not as many more rides”
A scooter blocking the sidewalk on 6th Street on the evening of Nov. 20, 2021.
Screenshot of uReport filed by The B Square about an improperly parked scooter.
When Bloomington’s city council enacted an ordinance regulating shared electric scooters, the local law came with a provision about sidewalk parking. Users could park their scooters on sidewalks, but with more than a dozen restrictions.
Among the restrictions are some obvious requirements—like the need to leave a clear straight path of some minimal width (at least four and a half feet), and a prohibition against blocking accessibility ramps.
At the July 31, 2019 city council meeting, when the scooter ordinance was enacted, city attorney Mike Rouker told the city council: “[The city of Bloomington] will be fining them every single time we see a parking issue.”
Apparent violations of the scooter parking ordinance are noticeable in many places around town where scooters are operated.
But the city of Bloomington has not made any citations or issued any fines related to improper scooter parking, after the ordinance became effective more than two years ago, on Sept. 1, 2019
Continue reading “Electric scooter parking violations: Zero citations, in over 2 years since local Bloomington law was passed”
Measured by scooter rides, life in Bloomington has not yet returned to the pre-pandemic norms.
Numbers available through the city’s B Clear platform show that for August and September of 2021, a total of 106,083 rides were taken on a shared electric scooter, which is 69 percent of the 154,486 rides taken during the same period in 2019. Continue reading “Data notebook: Bloomington’s electric scooter ridership at 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels”
In August and September this year, a total of about 71,800 rides were taken in Bloomington on e-scooters, which are available for short-term rental from three different companies.
That’s only about 46 percent of the ridership seen for the same two months in 2019—an impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though Indiana University students have returned to campus, many of them have vastly reduced local travel requirements, because some of their classes are offered online.
University affiliates make up the majority of ridership for public buses and private e-scooters alike. After e-scooter ridership dipped to nearly nothing over the summer, it has rebounded a little bit this fall, somewhat better than public bus ridership.
Ridership on Bloomington Transit’s fixed route buses in August this year was around just 32 percent of August ridership in 2019.
In Bloomington the competition for riders is a three-way fight between Bird, Lime and a newcomer, Veo. The last to arrive on the scene, Veo can now claim around 32 percent of Bloomington ridership, better than twice as much as Bird’s 12 percent, but still trailing Lime’s 56 percent. Continue reading “Bloomington’s e-scooter ridership down, Lime still leads, but cedes ground to Veo”