Nashville came to the brink of passing revised dockless electric scooter regulations on Tuesday night, but last-minute concerns mean changes could take another three rounds of votes by the Metro Council.
Councilman Jeremy Elrod
deferred his scooter bill, citing legal questions that arose about the precise wording of some rules, and resistance from one unnamed scooter company. Elrod also vowed to bring back a new bill at the next council meeting — but that measure will still be forced to work its way through the council process again.
The scooters have swarmed into downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, triggering complaints about improper parking on sidewalks and concerns about safety and oversight.
In recent weeks, the council was nearing a regulatory update that would have added a new $10 fine to riders for bad parking, outlawed riders under 18, and given power to the Transportation Licensing Commission to restrict the hours that scooters can operate.
Those measures are now tabled, although Elrod said much of their substance could be considered again.
And Elrod also said he still wants to clarify that the entire pilot program for scooters should be reviewed in one year. At that time, the council would determine whether the rules are working and whether scooters should be allowed to stay.
The debate comes as Uber’s JUMP scooters hit the streets earlier in the day. Two more companies — Spin and Gotcha — are also expected in the next few weeks. That will make six providers, including Bird, Lime and Lyft.
One of the other possible rule changes would make it harder for additional companies to enter the market.
However, all of the current companies already must share data with Metro about the usage of their scooters. Those that do not meet the threshold can be prevented from deploying additional scooters, and each company is capped at 1,000.