Palo Alto approves e-scooter pilot

On Monday evening, Palo Alto City Council approved a pilot program for e-scooter and bike share, to move forward in the next 1-2 months. Philip Kamhi, the city’s Chief Transportation Official, said that there were vendors standing by, waiting to apply for the program once the final rules were refined including comments from City Council.

While the pilot allows bikeshare programs, the vendors providing dockless bikeshare have largely replaced their services with scooters, so Kamhi was not optimistic that there would be bikeshare options forthcoming.

A representative from Lime spoke in public comment, citing statistics showing that 80% of usage in Oakland is to and from transit; and that 1/3 of trips in San Jose replace a car trip.

Council Member Tanaka and CTO Kamhi described their own frequent use of e-scooters. Several council members noted that they were uncertain about how well the pilot would work, but were willing to go forward with the pilot to collect data and see a report before the end of the year.

As noted recently, Mountain View is planning a pilot, at a timeline that’s now 9 months behind Palo Alto because of staffing-related delays, and Sunnyvale has said that they would want to follow and partner with Mountain View. So the learning from Palo Alto’s pilot will help inform next steps from other cities on the Peninsula.