CHICAGO (CBS) — They just zipped into town and already electric scooters are popping up in places they aren’t supposed to be. A four-month pilot program launched Saturday with 2,500 scooters. Several are already showing up in the wrong areas.
The city is hoping to keep e-scooters out of the Loop and away from traffic. They are available in an area bounded by Irving Park Road on the north, the city limits and Harlem Avenue on the west, the Chicago River and Halsted Street on the east, and the river on the south. The Loop and Lakefront are off limits for the e-scooter pilot program.
They quickly proved to be popular rides, with one of the 10 companies offering scooters claiming they surpassed 1,200 rides on the first day, despite the rain.
Still, several scooters were seen outside the limited area, including a VeoRide unit left near Jefferson and Lake, over a quarter mile beyond the boundary.
“If the rider rides it across the bridge to get into downtown, the scooter actually will slow down and shut down,” Candice Xie, the co-founder of VeoRide, said earlier this week.
CBS 2’s Eric Cox decided to put this to the test, taking a scooter past Halsted only to be halted before Jefferson.
A VeoRide representative said geofencing alerts riders on the app when they exit the pilot area. Until the scooter is returned back within the boundary line, the fare continues accruing.
“Seeing them thrown, here, there and everywhere on sidewalks in the 24 hours that they’ve been active here,” said cyclist Alyson Hankwitz.
She isn’t wrong. Former alderman Bob Fioretti tweeted a photo of several scooters scattered on the ground.
— Bob Fioretti (@BobFiorettiChi) June 16, 2019
Another image found online shows a scooter hanging from a tree branch.
— Run2bike (@HayesS) June 16, 2019
A city representative says riders are required to snap a photo of the scooter properly parked before their fare ends, but more may need to be done if the city plans on preventing disorganized scooters.
Two separate city offices are overseeing the e-scooter pilot program.
The trial run continues until Oct. 15. After that, the city will assess feedback before making a decision on their future in Chicago.