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Kansas City's Scooter Craze Has Only Just Begun — Two New Models Are Coming Soon

Andrea Tudhope
KCUR 89.3
Eric Vaughan from BikeWalkKC tries out RideKC's new electric scooter at 18th and Lidia, where new bike and scooter lanes have recently been installed.

Lime scooters are out, at least for now, but two new providers will soon deploy their dockless fleets in Kansas City, Missouri.

City officials launched a year-long pilot program Thursday, which will gauge how electric bicycles and scooters fit into Kansas City's public transportation system and regulations. 

Joining Bird — which was the first scooter company to come to Kansas City last July — will be SPIN, a company owned by Ford, as well as RideKC. In partnership with pedestrian and bicyclist advocacy group BikeWalkKC, RideKC rolled out electric bicycles in December, and is now adding electric scooters.

Eric Vaughan, bike share director for BikeWalkKC, said Kansas City is leading the way when it comes to micro-mobility, or affordable alternatives for short-distance urban travel.

"RideKC is the only transit authority in the country that's now integrating scooters as part of the regional transit network, which really goes to show how progressive our team here in Kansas City has been with their approach," Vaughan said.

Since scooters first came to Kansas City last summer, the city reports there have been more than 250,000 rides, saving a quarter million pounds of carbon dioxide. One of the goals of the pilot program is to try out scooters through all seasons and determine whether scooters can operate year-round and whether the providers are equitable and inclusive. 

Vaughan said RideKC is looking into a special $10 annual membership, which would provide unlimited access, for people who receive need-based services. They also plan to dock scooters along the Prospect and Troost bus lines.

"It's public transit. We're here for everybody, but we're also mostly here for the people who need us most. And if we're missing the neighborhoods that have low car ownership, then we're missing the point," Vaughan said. 

RideKC and SPIN scooters will roll out in the coming weeks. 

Andrea Tudhope is a reporter at KCUR 89.3. Email her at andreat@kcur.org, and follow her on Twitter @andreatudhope

Andrea Tudhope is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri. She is currently coordinating producer for America Amplified, a national public media community engagement initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 
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