Albuquerque scooter, bike rental programs face uncertain future

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Coronavirus halted curbside scooter and bike rentals across Albuquerque, but now both programs may not come back in the same way many people have known them in the city.

The company responsible for the bright-orange scooters, “Spin” has pulled all of the two-wheeled rentals off of the street. Meanwhile, the contract for the “Pace” bike-share program ends in a few months and regional transportation planners are already expecting a change.

“Investors aren’t sure what are the best modes long term, but what does remain true is micro-mobility, (i.e.) bike share, scooters, pedal-assist bikes are essential for that first and last mile connection,” said Jacob Wolff, a transportation planner for the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG.)

Wolff says transit planners at MRCOG are already trying to formulate the best possible option for a “micro-mobility” program for the Albuquerque-metro area in the near future, as COVID-19 has put Albuquerque’s scooter and bike-share programs to an indefinite pause.

In response to the pandemic, several bike and scooter-share companies across the United States have halted service or pulled out of medium-sized cities like Albuquerque. According to city officials, Spin “ceased operations” in Albuquerque in April in response to COVID-19.

However, Albuquerque was also nearing the end of its one-year pilot program with Spin. The company’s permit to operate in the city expires are the end of May. A spokeswoman from the city of Albuquerque’s Planning & Zoning Department said Tuesday that Spin had not renewed its permit to operate in the city.

In response to KRQE News 13’s inquiry on the status of scooters in Albuquerque Tuesday, the city said it’s, “looking to improve the shared active transportation program in the coming year,” and “working on the next steps moving forward.”

When it comes to street-side bike rentals, “Pace” bike share is on contract with the Mid-Region Council of Governments to operate in Albuquerque through September 2020. The company behind Pace, “Zagster,” has temporarily stopped bike rentals.

MRCOG says in revamping its transportation rental program, the agency has been looking at more comprehensive rental programs which could include bikes, pedal-assisting electronic bikes and other types of scooters.

“Instead of having investors and private developers setting the tones for what these personal transportation options are it’s really great that we as a region can make a decision that best serves everyone here,” Wolff said.

Zagster hasn’t said yet if its “Pace” bikes will be back available for rent in Albuquerque before the contract ends in September. Spin didn’t return KRQE News 13’s request for comment Tuesday.

Last summer, Albuquerque had about 450 Spin scooters on the streets. Over the last few years, Pace has had as many as 250 bikes for rent across 50 different stations.


New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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