City Council plans to expand bike share program using scooter profits

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — You see them all over downtown Memphis, but it turns out the popular “motorized scooters” have been generating a pretty good income for the city.

You can’t take a trip downtown without seeing a Bird or Lime Scooter drive by.

On Tuesday, City Council Chairman Kemp Conrad spoke to a committee about a resolution to invest more in shared mobility infrastructure. He said, currently, scooter companies pay $1 a day per scooter to the city to operate here.

“We have produced $100,000 in pure profit from the dollar a day and forecasted over $200,000 a year,” Conrad said.

Having the ability to reinvest into shared mobility in the city, Conrad pitched allocating $75,000 of that revenue into the non-profit Explore bike share program.

Everyone on the committee voted yes.

Trey Moore, the non-profit’s executive director, said people are mostly using bikes for recreation.

“But we know that we need to also change habits in the way people are using bike share for commuting, for last mile options, for bus transit and that sort of thing. We’re continuing to evolve and look at those opportunities,” he said. “We’ll expand the number of stations from 60 to 120. And we’ll be able to go into new neighborhoods including Binghampton, the University District and the fairgrounds area.”

If you remember, the bikes rolled out first shortly before the motorized scooters.

Moore says scooters have helped long-term.”It’s challenged us tho think about how we deliver our product better.”

The plan is to first expand the bikes in Binghampton in May 2019 and in the university area in the fall.

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