The West Hollywood City Council is expected at its Monday meeting to give final approval to a ban on making dockless electric scooters available for rent in WeHo. It also is likely to approve a fine on companies whose scooters are left on the city’s sidewalks, which would range from $250 for a first offense to $850 for a third offense.
The decision to ban shared dockless electric scooters has sparked a big debate as to whether the ban should be implemented at all and, if it’s not, how the city could regulate the use and presence of those small vehicles to keep the riders from causing accidents or blocking city sidewalks. Advocates for those scooters, and representatives of dockless scooter rental companies such as Bird and Lime, are likely to show up at Monday’s Council meeting to continue the debate.
Here’s a summary of what some other California cities have done in recent months to address some of these issues:
Los Angeles. The Los Angeles City Council’s Transportation Committee has proposed guidelines that would allow dockless electric scooters to be operated anywhere in the city. Each scooter company would be limited to providing no more than 3,000 scooters within Los Angeles. However, there are several ways a company could increase that limit. It could put an additional 2,500 scooters in low income areas in Los Angeles and an additional 5,000 in similar areas in the San Fernando Valley. If each scooter gets at least three rides a day and no rules are broken, the city’s Department of Transportation every three months can allow a company to add up to 5,000 more scooters. The Transportation Committee proposal must be approved by the full City Council.
Santa Monica. The City Council adopted a a 16-month pilot program in which four companies would be authorized to distribute scooters on the streets. Each company would pay an application fee of $25,000 and a fee of $130 per scooter.
The Council decided not to put a cap on the number of scooters, responding to arguments that the success of the scooter program depends on their availability across the city and that the market ultimately will determine how many scooters are available for rent. The companies participating in the pilot program must share data about the scooters’ use with the city and develop pickup and drop off zones.
San Francisco. San Francisco plans to implement a 12-month pilot program that would allow five companies to obtain permits to offer dockless electric scooters. Initially only 1,250 could be available across the city. After six months, that limit would increase to 2,500. Each of the five companies would have to pay $25,000 plus a $5,000 application fee. Each company also must contribute to $10,000 to fund that would cover the cost of implementing the program. The program has been approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and now must be approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
West Hollywood’s Public Works and Planning and Development Services departments in June proposed a similar six-month proposed pilot project that would have allowed a maximum of three companies to each locate up to 50 scooters within West Hollywood. The companies would have been required to share ridership data with the city, which would have put restrictions on hours of operation and location of the scooters. That proposal was rejected in a four to one vote, with Councilmember John D’Amico supporting it.
The City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. on July 9 at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. Parking is free in the five-story structure behind the City Council Chambers with a ticket validated in the lobby.