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  • Midwest regional manager of VeoRide, Ben Thomas, was on hand to demonstrate the new e-scooter at Headwaters Park on Friday. (Photos by Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette)

  • The VeoRide e-scooter pilot program was unveiled at Headwaters Park on Friday 09.06.2019  

  • Ben Thomas, Midwest regional manager of VeoRide, was on hand Friday to demonstrate the new e-scooter at Headwaters Park.

Saturday, September 07, 2019 1:00 am

E-scooter, bike rentals hit downtown

Official: Program will ease congestion

JIM CHAPMAN | The Journal Gazette

Hundreds of e-scooters and pedal bikes will soon be available for rent downtown.

VeoRide, a shared mobility company from Chicago, launched a test program Friday.

The 16-month pilot program will start with several dozen e-scooters. Over the next month, 300 e-scooters and 150 pedal bikes will be available in a designated area. The company's permit can be revoked at any time if the program does not meet expectations, city officials said.

City planner Dan Baisden said the e-scooters and bikes provide more transportation options, ease traffic congestion, reduce air pollution and connect neighborhoods.

Tax dollars are not supporting VeoRide. It is paid for by people who ride the vehicles, the city said.

The e-scooters and bikes are operated through the VeoRide app downloaded to smartphones. Riders use the app to find available bikes and scooters near them. Customers must be 18 years old to ride and are required to have a credit card on file, officials said.

E-scooters cost $1 to unlock and an additional 15 cents per minute after that. Riders must pay $1 to unlock pedal bikes and 5 cents a minute thereafter.

The e-scooters and bikes will only be allowed to be operated and parked in certain geographic areas known as geo-fencing. If riders park the vehicles in locations outside the fenced area, they will continue to be charged until the vehicles are parked properly.

The VeoRide app shows a map of appropriate geo-fenced parking areas.

The boundaries for the launch area include downtown Fort Wayne and several neighborhoods near downtown.

“We believe when people can get around without a car, they can be happier, healthier and more connected to the community,” said Nathan Miller, community wellness coordinator for Purdue Extension in Allen County.

He served on a committee that offered recommendations leading to rules and regulations of the e-scooters and pedal bikes. The committee looked at best practices and lessons learned in other cities to create a pilot program, the city said.

“I have to say Fort Wayne put together one of the longest documents for shared mobility regulations,” Baisden said.

VeoRide's scooters, which weigh about 50 pounds, cannot travel faster than 15 mph. The weight, a GPS system and an alarm on each e-scooter discourages misuse and theft, officials said.

VeoRide has a locally hired support team in Fort Wayne that will respond to calls about its scooters and bikes. Anyone can report concerns by calling 855-836-2256 or emailing hello@veoride.com. For more information on VeoRide, go to www.veoride.com.

This isn't the first time the city has toyed with the idea of bringing in shared mobility systems.

In 2016, the city entered an agreement with Zagster for a bike share program using docked bicycles. That agreement ended in 2018 as Zagster began to shift toward a dockless system and did not feel it could continue to meet Fort Wayne's needs.

See the map

To download a PDF map of areas in which e-scooters will be allowed to operate and park, click here.

jchapman@jg.net