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More Electric Scooters Arrive In Kansas City

Celisa Calacal
KCUR 89.3

Lime electric scooters are ready to ride in Kansas City, as the company placed 250 of its electric scooters around the city today.

Lime scooters cost $1 to unlock and then 15 cents per minute of riding. Bird, another electric scooter company, arrived in Kansas City in July. According to a press release from the city, revenue sharing from Lime and Bird will be used to build and improve bike lanes.

During a press conference Tuesday, Sam Sadle, Lime’s director of strategic development, said he hopes the scooters can help people in Kansas City get around.

“That means meeting mobility targets, that means providing first and last mile transportation, connecting people to the great Kansas City public transit network here and that means allowing people to get where they need to go when they need to go,” he said.

Robbie Makinen, CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, said one goal of the partnership between KCATA and Lime includes offering residents greater access to use the public transit system.

“This is another step in this region, and in the city and the KCATA’s direction of making mobility as a service and providing options for customers,” he said.

Electric scooters are becoming more popular in U.S. cities — Lime currently operates in more than 80 markets. But this new way of getting around major cities has also come with problems.

Police officers in Nashville have complained about people riding scooters on downtown sidewalks, despite an ordinance stating they can only be ridden on streets. Denver officials banned Lime and Bird after the companies ignored requests to remove scooters from sidewalks and public streets. Denver Public Works then developed a pilot program in late June that could allow the scooter companies to return to the city by asking the companies to place scooters near bus and transit stops.

In August, the Country Club Plaza in Kansas banned Bird scooters from the area, saying safety incidents resulted in complaints. The business district lifted the ban in late August after working with the city and Bird.

To prevent a similar problem, Sadle said Lime has an operations team that will address any issues that may arise.

“That’s why we have and invest in a great operations team here,” he said. “And that means being able to have teams at major events — at Royals games and at other events — to pick up and move and have that flexibility to adjust to the conditions on the ground.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the Country Club Plaza has lifted the ban on Bird scooters.

Celisa Calacal is an intern at KCUR 89.3.

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