After logging more than 256,000 rides in its first month, Chicago’s dockless electric scooter pilot program continues to elicit mixed reviews from residents. On Friday, the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), which is overseeing the trial, released findings from feedback compiled from 235 email responses and 126 calls to 311.
According to the BACP, 43 percent of the feedback was positive, 46 percent negative, and 11 percent neutral. While many respondents praised the micromobility technology for its convenience and ease of use, the most common negative comments centered on unsafe riding—particularly on sidewalks—and parked scooters obstructing the public way.
Starting Saturday, all companies are required 2 affix a new, simple safe-riding image 2 all scooters. This info will be emailed 2 all scooter users, & flyers w/ these images will be sent 2 community groups & businesses in the pilot area 2 promote safe riding. (4/7) pic.twitter.com/Gg2CxhQEqS— Chicago BACP (@ChicagoBACP) August 2, 2019
Over the weekend, each of the 2,500 scooters participating in the program were required to display new, easy-to-read graphics reminding users not to ride on the sidewalk or block the public right of way when parking. The BACP says it will email the info directly to scooter users as well as community groups and businesses located within the West Side pilot boundaries.
The companies taking part in the program are also partnering with the Chicago Department of Transportation’s cycling ambassadors to promote safe and responsible riding at a series of free educational events. Last month, the city started cracking down on scooter vendors violating the rules of the pilot program and issued multiple citations which carry fines of up to $1,000.
Another frequent comment was the inconvenience of having to juggle between ten different apps to track down a ride. In response, the city recently published real-time data streams from the vendors. The move allows the Transit app to display the location of all scooters, regardless of brand.
The BACP says it welcomes additional public comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and will conduct an online survey in the coming months. The feedback will help determine how dockless scooters fit into the city’s broader mobility plans after the pilot wraps up on October 15.