NEWSBRIEF: St. Paul adds new shared mobility options

The City of St. Paul is adding two new, shared mobility options for residents and visitors to explore the city and get to their final destination — dockless bikes and electric-assist scooters. On Aug. 13, the St. Paul signed a contract with Lime to provide dockless bikes throughout the city. On Aug. 1, the St. Paul City Council approved a resolution allowing a pilot program for electric scooters to operate on city streets.

Beginning Aug. 14 dockless bikes are now available for the public to use. These new mobility options are part of a larger effort to provide city residents and visitors with comfortable and affordable ways to get around town that have a low impact on the environment.

“St. Paul residents, visitors and employees will now have two more great options for moving around our community,” said City Council President Amy Brendmoen. “These new, shared, dockless bikes and scooters will make our city more connected, healthy and fun.”

User flexibility is one of the advantages of dockless bikes and e-scooters. Riders can begin or end their ride anywhere in the city rather than only at bike racks/docking stations. Both mobility options are operated with smartphone apps in which riders set up individual accounts with third-party vendors to find, unlock and rent a bike or e-scooter located throughout the city on the public right-of-way (the boulevard between the public sidewalk and the street).

 

Dockless bike program

St. Paul has partnered with Lime to provide dockless bike sharing services citywide. Lime will provide both traditional pedal bikes, and, eventually, electric-assist bikes which can help make traveling up some of St. Paul’s many hills a bit easier. All bikes are GPS and 3G-enabled, making it easy for riders to find, unlock and use a nearby bike with an iOS or Android smartphone app. When riders reach their ride destination, they use the app to end the ride and responsibly park the bike between the sidewalk and street curb, or at a bike rack.

Traditional bike rental is $1 for every 30 minutes. Lime has committed to working with the city to implement programs to reduce rider costs for low income residents, and make the program available for individuals without smartphones or credit cards.

Lime has also made a commitment to work with riders and the city to ensure that bikes are parked appropriately and legally throughout Saint Paul, without blocking sidewalks, transit stops, driveways, or creating other issues. All of the bikes have contact information on them so residents can contact Lime directly to have bikes relocated if they are parked inappropriately. 

 

Electric scooter pilot program

In addition to the dockless bike program, on Aug. 1, the city council unanimously approved an e-scooter pilot program allowing residents and visitors to use e-scooters from a variety of companies. The pilot program will last until Nov. 30, at which point the program will be evaluated to determine if it should continue long-term.

Lime submitted an agreement with St. Paul and had scooters available public use in mid-August. Bird, another e-scooter vendor, has also submitted an agreement with the city, and the city expects to have scooters available soon. Like bike sharing, the scooters can be located and rented by downloading a smartphone app, providing an easy mobility option. Scooter riders should follow the same rules of the road that apply to bicycle users, and all riders are encouraged to wear helmets. Scooters can be used on city streets, bike lanes, and bike paths. E-scooters are prohibited on sidewalks.

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