Electric scooters will be coming to Chattanooga after all.
Blythe Bailey, city transportation director, said that the firm that operates the city's bicycle rental program is offering the electric scooter option.
Mr. Bailey said they would be docked in the same manner as bicycles that are rented at stations around downtown.
The City Council earlier turned down efforts by "dockless" electric scooter firms based on safety concerns as well as reports of the scooters being left all over town.
A six-month moratorium was put into place and that has been extended.
Bailey said Shift plans to start out with "no more than a few dozen" of the electric scooters and there will be a pilot program on how they work.
He said he will check state laws on where they can be operated - whether roadways and/or sidewalks.
Mr. Bailey said Shift earlier added electric bicycles and those have been a big hit. He said that was one factor in the eight-year-old Bikesharing service having record-breaking ridership and membership gains.
Officials on Tuesday launched a new member referral program for the Bike Chattanooga bikeshare program.
For the month of October, for each newly purchased Bike Chattanooga pass or membership on the PBSC/CycleFinder app, the pass holder will receive a unique code to refer a friend to try bikeshare with a free daily pass. A daily pass, valued at $8, gives riders unlimited 60-minute, station-to-station trips for a 24-hour period. The referral program is being launched at a time when bikesharing has become recognized as a great way to remain active and commute on one’s own terms in the midst of COVID-19, while also being able to maintain social distancing.
Officials said, "Since March, the Bike Chattanooga program has remained open, accessible, and safe for all to use. The service has distributed more than 200 free annual memberships to frontline workers, while seeing a 62 percent usage increase in stations adjacent to medial facilities between April - September. In addition, between January – September, the service has broken a number of system records including:
• 62% Y-o-Y increase in the number of subscriptions sold
• 27% Y-o-Y increase in ridership
• 27% Y-o-Y increase in miles travelled
“We are thrilled to see the record-breaking success of the Bike Chattanooga program in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ben Taylor, Director of Transportation Operations for the city of Chattanooga. “It’s clear that Chattanooga residents and visitors have come to rely on the program as a vital transportation lifeline and we are grateful to be able to partner with Shift Transit to safely provide this service.”
A significant source of these gains has been the service’s 55 electric bikes. With e-bike sales surging across the country, Bike Chattanooga has also benefited from the growing interest in electric transport. To date, the Bike Chattanooga e-bike fleet has seen a 97 percent increase in usage Y-o-Y, representing 36 percent of all system trips.
For more information, visit www.BikeChattanooga.com