St. Paul has approved two vendors to provide electric scooters throughout the city this year.
On Wednesday, contracts were signed with Lime and Spin to provide up to 1,000 scooters total. The vote on a third contract with Bird, also for up to 500 scooters, was delayed until the May 1 City Council meeting.
The cap of 500 scooters per vendor can be lifted, but providers would have to demonstrate there's sufficient demand and ability to manage their impact on public rights of way, said Reuben Collins, a transportation planner and engineer for St. Paul.
All told, St. Paul is prepared to have some 2,000 e-scooters in the city. Users locate, unlock and pay for scooters using a smartphone app.
This year, St. Paul will charge scooter providers $100 per scooter. If three vendors are used, the city said it could collect between $90,000 and $150,000, which would help with management of scooters, enforcement related to their use, and education on how to properly use them. Collins said an additional fee of 25 cents for trips that start or end in a park will be applied to all vendors as well.
Last year, Lime introduced 300 scooters throughout the city that resulted in 67,000 rides over a four-month period.
Concerns have been expressed about scooters being used or abandoned on sidewalks, imperiling pedestrians and people with disabilities.