Providence City Councilor wants e-scooters off the street until operating companies are vetted
By: Ellie Romano
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) - If you've driven around Providence recently, you may have noticed e-scooters are back after a brief hiatus.
Electric scooters were previously operated in the city by the companies Bird and Lime. Both companies pulled their scooters from the streets last month following contract disagreements with the city.
Now, e-scooters are back with two new companies running them: Veoride and Spin.
At least one city councilor is less than thrilled to see the return of the e-scooter.
"I am troubled that after our bad experience with e-devices this past Summer that a roll-out happened," said City Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan.
It's no secret Providence had its fair share of problems with e-scooters this summer. They were being thrown into the river, hacked, and even used for criminal activity.
Councilor Ryan wants to avoid those kinds of things from happening again by properly vetting scooter companies going forward.
"I support alternate modes of transportation," said Ryan. "However, we should not move forward without taking the time to review and vet our programs publicly and ensure that implementation is executed in a way that supports public safety, holds businesses accountable, and makes sense for our city."
Councilor Ryan said she can't properly vet the scooter companies until an audit of the e-scooter pilot program is released. City Council requested the audit from the mayor's office in July and wanted it within 30 days of the request. No such audit has been released as of October 31st.
According to the mayor's office, the report will be completed soon.
"Year one of the pilot phase has just completed and the administration is including that information within the report to council," said Victor Morente the mayor's press secretary.
Councilor Ryan is concerned the scooters launched without a full review requested by the Council.
"The City Council, or members of our Council staff, were not briefed prior to the arrival of e-scooters on Sunday," said Ryan.
The mayor's office said that's not true.
"Representatives from the Administration advised senior City Council staff in August before the new regulations were promulgated and new permits were issued. City Council staff was again advised of the year two launch recently," said Morente.
Morente went on to say the two scooter companies were selected because they best align with the City’s vision for multimodal transportation options.
"At VeoRide we take community responsibility seriously," said a spokesperson with VeoRide. "That is why VeoRide is committed to working collaboratively with City of Providence leaders, local businesses, and non-profit community groups to successfully deploy our e-scooters.”