Why haven’t Albuquerque’s electric rental scooters hit the street?

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A showdown over electric scooters: hundreds of them have been sitting in an Albuquerque warehouse for months, but these electric rental scooters have yet to officially hit the streets of Albuquerque. 

“One company said they envisioned as many as 500 in the first month,” says City Councilor Pat Davis. “Companies have lined up and said we’re ready, we have these in the city we want to use them.”

City council approved a law back in early October setting rules for the scooters and fines for the companies if the scooters are abandoned on sidewalks or streets.

They even had a few out on Civic Plaza for people to try.

“I don’t see much of negativities about electric scooters because technically they are pollution free,” says Albuquerque resident Rahulreddy Chennareddy. 

Davis says companies like Lime, Bird and Razor are all interested in deploying scooters around the city. One of them even has a warehouse full of them ready to go. 

“They are rightly frustrated that they’ve held up their end of the bargain waiting for the OK to put these out on the street, and people in Albuquerque made it clear they were excited to see these,” Davis says. 

According to the city’s planning department, there is a task force creating rules for scooter vendors and riders. 

“What we are doing right now is drafting a permit to allow the vendors to come in to Albuquerque so there will be an application process,” says Carmelina Hart, CABQ Planning Department spokesperson. 

Representatives from Lime say the company started shipping scooters here but stopped because of the delay in the permitting process.

Davis says this should be a call to action for the city.

“It’s time to get them done and hopefully by the first of the year people can start seeing them in Albuquerque,” Davis says. 

When that permit is drafted, the mayor’s office will still have to sign off on it.

The planning department says that permit should be ready in a few months or so. 

KRQE News 13 reached out to the scooter rental companies.

Statement from Lime:

We were excited the Albuquerque City Council, and particularly Councilor Davis, took the lead on passing a permitting process we thought could be in place by November 1st, and certainly in time to drive customers to local businesses who want scooters. We are disappointed it has taken this long and look forward to when we are able to introduce scooters to Albuquerque. – Sam Dreiman, Lime Director, Strategic Development

Statement from Bird:

The climate crisis demands an immediate transportation mode shift to cleaner, affordable vehicles such as e-scooters. Albuquerque has already made clear that it would like to be a climate leader in the region after committing itself earlier this year to fulfilling the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and the National Climate Agenda — and we would like to help them make progress meeting those goals. Bird riders and chargers, and the business community of Albuquerque have shown their public support of our service, and we hope we can take a step forward with Mayor Keller to bring our service to city streets in short order. – Bird

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