‘Dockless’ electric scooters arrive in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Salt Lake City residents have a new mode of transportation available: rentable electric scooters.

Bird Rides Inc.’s scooters hit Salt Lake City streets on Thursday.

The company’s scooters are battery-powered and have a beefier, heavier frame than a typical children’s scooter, the Deseret News reported .

They can reach speeds up to up 15 mph (24 kph) and have a range of about 15 miles on a single charge.

Interested riders can rent the scooters through Bird Rides’ app.

Riders are charged $1 when the rental begins, and 15 cents per minute of use.

While some people say they are excited over an eco-friendly alternative to cars, others have expressed outrage and made threats of litigation. After the ride, users are asked to leave scooters off sidewalks or any place where they will obstruct traffic, but there is no system in place to ensure this happens.

Other cities have reported issues with similar business models.

The city is hoping to work with Bird, like it did with the GreenBike bike-share program, to make sure the system works as yet another option to get around downtown, said Julianne Sabula, transit program manager.

“In a conceptual sense, we’re very excited about this kind of innovation,” Sabula said. “We’re all about finding new ways for people to get around without having to get in a car.”

Sabula said she and her office are aware of the problems that other cities have had with business models similar to Bird.

Those issues include collisions involving scooter riders and pedestrians, scooters operating in roadways and hindering auto traffic flow and, perhaps most notably, the scooters being left lying on sidewalks, roadways, private property and other places where they impede pedestrian traffic or create headaches for business and property owners.

In San Francisco, officials issued a cease-and-desist order to Bird and two other companies earlier this month.

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