Dockless electric scooters haven’t been drawing much attention lately. But Nashville’s Metro Council has decided it’s time to overhaul how they’re regulated.
Widespread complaints and injuries led to temporary emergency rules back in August. Those also cut the number of scooters by about half. They’d peaked with seven companies and 4,100 in use.
Permanent rules are coming this summer after the Metro Council voted last night to authorize the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission to write the specifics. Major differences won’t be obvious right away on the streets and sidewalks, but behind the scenes, the big change is that Metro will be setting higher standards before giving scooter companies permission to put out their fleets.
They’ll need to meet safety rules, provide accurate data on ridership and employ enough staff to quickly respond to complaints.
One broad goal is to spur competition among companies, and this time around, Metro is maintaining the right to choose only the best operators.
That also means Metro will grade their applications through an RFP process that includes some optional-but-encouraged criteria. For example: a company’s ability to keep scooters off sidewalks; openness to discounting rides for low-income residents; and willingness to promote helmet usage.