SPI city council rejects e-scooter pilot program

South Padre Island residents line to speak in opposition to e-scooters during a SPI City Council meeting on June 17. Photo by Gaige Davila.

By Gaige Davila

Members of the City of South Padre Island’s city council have denied e-scooters from the Island once again. 

During a city council meeting on June 18, Glide Scooters, based in El Paso, Texas, presented a pilot program to council members and the thirty or so SPI residents in attendance. 

Jonathan Lopez, Glide Scooters’ CEO, said the presentation was an “exclusive pilot program,” to operate as a “test” for South Padre Island, saying the program could be amended if needed. 

But councilmember Joe Ricco motioned to deny the program, with councilmember Kerry Schwartz seconding the motion, soon after Lopez concluded the presentation. 

“It’s not a problem of how many safeguards you put into place,” Schwartz said, talking about South Padre Island’s issues with rental golf carts. “It’s the riders that are renting these things that don’t comply.” 

Several attendees spoke in opposition of the pilot program as well, already frustrated with other rental vehicles on the island, such as golf carts. 

Ricco showed videos of traffic on Laguna Boulevard from a week ago, asking how scooters would be able to ride through the cars safely, along with several articles from news outlets covering people who were injured or killed while riding e-scooters. 

“My main concern is safety,” Ricco said while showing the articles. “We need our tourists safe. I don’t see how creating more traffic strife will help that.”

Lopez replied that the e-scooters would not be allowed to be used on Laguna Boulevard because it lacked a bike lane.

Glide Scooters would have distributed 125 scooters on South Padre Island, with a 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. operating curfew. Only persons 18 years or older could ride the scooter, with a driver’s license. The e-scooters had a 15mph maximum speed and could only be ridden in the bike lane. 

In El Paso, Lopez said their e-scooters were well received by the city after their launch in October 2018. The PRESS has contacted Lopez for comment on future plans for Glide Scooters. 

SPI’s city council previously banned e-scooters from the Island for 180 days in February 2019. In August 2019, SPI’s city council voted to prohibit any e-scooters rented on city property, in an effort to deter dockless vehicle companies from leaving e-scooters on the Island.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.portisabelsouthpadre.com/2020/06/19/spi-city-council-rejects-e-scooter-pilot-program/

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