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Cedar Rapids wanted e-scooters to bring people downtown, not make money like other cities

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Cedar Rapids wished e-scooters to carry individuals downtown, not earn money like different cities

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Town of Cedar Rapids stated its objective was to carry extra individuals downtown when it signed a contract to carry electrical scooters and bikes, via a bike-share program, to Cedar Rapids. Our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Team discovered some cities make 1000’s of {dollars} from letting electrical scooter firms function.

VeoRide, a Chicago-based firm, solely pays the town of Cedar Rapids if it finds an promoting sponsorship. If that occurs, Cedar Rapids would obtain 20 p.c of the revenue from the promoting sponsorship.

Invoice Micheel, who’s the assistant neighborhood improvement director for Cedar Rapids, wrote in an e-mail that one other objective was additionally to create an environmentally pleasant transportation choice for shorter journeys.

He stated the town acquired totally different proposals from totally different firms and the proposal from VeoRide was the best choice.

“Given the truth that the Cedar Rapids marketplace for micro-mobility was fully untested, and Cedar Rapids has no massive college situated right here, the contract with VeoRide was by far the best choice obtainable to us at the moment,” Micheel wrote in an e-mail.

Waterloo, which is smaller than Cedar Rapids, is making a living off electrical scooter firms. Its licensing program requires firms to pay $500 yearly for the primary two years. After the primary two years, firms nonetheless eager to function in Waterloo pay $200 per 12 months. Waterloo additionally receives 5 cents for every experience taken within the metropolis.

Two firms, Chicken Rides and Helbiz IA, each utilized and acquired licenses to function in Waterloo.

Three electrical scooter firms paid the town of Columbia, Missouri, a $10,000 regulatory charge together with a $1 ridership charge for every automobile every single day. Town of Cedar Rapids paid VeoRide $65,000 to offset misplaced income from delaying placing out scooters and bikes.

Micheel wrote in an e-mail that the advantage of the contract between VeoRide and the town of Cedar Rapids is the town isn’t accountable for ongoing working bills. He additionally wrote the town doesn’t personal any tools and has oversight over VeoRide, which Micheel views as a profit.

“It’s a level of satisfaction for us that we’re capable of develop progressive alternatives for our residents, such because the bike-share program,” Micheel wrote.

Information from the town of Cedar Rapids stated round 35,000 rides occurred via the bike-share program this 12 months. Round 87,500 individuals rode via the bike-share program throughout a six-month interval in 2020. That was nearly a 200 p.c improve from the variety of rides throughout August.

In June, two boys below the age of 12 have been injured whereas using a scooter on the town’s southeast aspect. Officers stated they hit a automobile on Mount Vernon Highway SE and acquired life-threatening accidents. Though each lived, the crash sparked a dialog about security in Cedar Rapids, since individuals below the age of 18 usually are not allowed to experience a scooter. Town of Cedar Rapids stated it was wanting into methods to ensure individuals using the scooters have been at the very least 18-years-old.

Information from the town of Cedar Rapids stated individuals reported scooter accidents or falls round 32 occasions since 2020. Mercy Medical Middle in Cedar Rapids stated on Tuesday, electrical scooters are rising traumatic accidents. VEO advised TV9 in June the corporate pulls about six scooters each week out of an area river. A 16-year-old boy was charged and arrested with fifth-degree prison mischief after police stated he threw a scooter into the river.

The Cedar Rapids Police Division additionally cited 17 people in an hour for using scooters, bikes, and skateboards on the sidewalks, a $600 effective. Diane Drahos, who lives in Cedar Rapids, stated the digital scooters on the sidewalk make it tougher for her to stroll the town as a result of she has a walker.

“I can’t kinda get round, and I’m afraid of falling down,” Drahos stated. “As a result of if I’ve to go on the grass or uneven floor, I’ve an ideal incapacity and I would slip and fall.”

Drahos stated she believes the town of Cedar Rapids may use their {dollars} higher than paying cash to electrical scooter firms.

“Why aren’t we not making an attempt to assist out our needy individuals that actually want the assistance right here?” Drahos stated. “As an alternative of bringing scooters, that’s not doing any good and simply making an eyesore.”

Nonetheless, not everybody thinks digital scooters and bikes are an eyesore for the town. Youthful individuals, like Andrew Wirth from Vinton, actually like having the scooters round city. He stated they seem like a number of enjoyable.

“You don’t need to stroll anyplace,” Wirth stated. “It’s one thing you and all your mates will pay for, hop on and go have a superb time across the metropolis.”

He additionally stated the digital scooters and bikes are facilities he’ll search for when selecting a metropolis to work and dwell.

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