KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Two companies’ electric scooters will be on the streets of Knoxville starting Wednesday, weeks after geofencing problems with one provider which forced them to be pulled.
Previous vendor Spin, a company which partners with Zagster, and VeoRide, a company new to Knoxville, will both be operating electric scooter programs starting Wednesday, May 1. Zagster operates the city’s Pace bike share program.
“We’re super excited to finally be launching in Knoxville,” said Christy Jensen with Zagster.
Both Zagster and VeoRide will launch 50 scooters each, a total of 100 scooters, on Wednesday.
“The biggest thing we want to remind people is that it’s super important that you ride in the road, that you ride with traffic, that you are following all of the traffic laws, put your helmet on and you’re good to ride,” said Jensen.
The two companies are part of a pilot program and have one-year operating agreements, which can be renewed.
“We’re going to be out in the field the rest of the week as we launch, giving people some informational sessions,” said Andrew Miles with VeoRide.
Both companies operate via apps which must be downloaded to rent the scooters. Rates for VeoRide are $1 to unlock the scooter and 15 cents per minute. Spin charges $1 to unlock and $1 per 15 minutes.
VeoRide users can also get free rides during the launch period with the codes VeoKnox, WeAllKnox and ScootKnox.
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They can only be ridden in the streets and not on sidewalks or greenways. Pedestrian heavy areas like Market Square are also off limits.
More online: VeoRide map and FAQ
Each company will provide 250 electric scooters over time depending on demand.
“We’ll monitor it and if it’s a positive visitor experience in some areas, we’re going to celebrate that. If it’s not in other areas, then we will adjust and we’ll all work as a big team to make sure that it’s a good experience for visitors, the community, people who work downtown, live downtown,” said Kim Bumpas with Visit Knoville.
The city attempted to launch the Spin scooters on March 20, but city officials said there were issues with the geofencing feature that would prevent the scooters from being operated in prohibited zones.
Since March both companies have been doing field testing with their scooters, correcting any issues and testing their geofencing maps.
“We could’ve put scooters out sooner. We both passed a field test that the city mandated,” said Miles.
“It’s really important that we want Knoville to have a controlled approach to this opportunity so we don’t run into challenges that we’ve seen in other communities,” added Bumpas.
Riders can be fined for misusing a scotter and ticketed for not following traffic rules.
Some of the no-ride zones include Krutch Park, Market Square, Henley Bridge, and parts of Cumberland Avenue.
City leaders suggest that scooters be parked upright and out of the way of pedestrians or vehicles, close to a bike rack.
The city passed a resolution allowing electric scooter companies to operate in Knoxville in February.