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Denver Prepares to Sign Scooter and E-Bike Companies to a Long-Term License

Will the city's plan leave low-income riders behind?

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Despite all the fist-shaking when electric scooters appeared on Denver’s streets in 2018, the city’s decision to let the vehicles stay led to a startling revelation: We use them. An average of 4,832 rides take place each day, according to a 2019 Department of Transportation & Infrastructure’s survey. Won over by the high usage, officials will integrate scooters into Denver’s public transportation plan this summer by signing at least one operator to a long-term license, forcing the others to, well, scoot. The move will allow DPW to more closely regulate the two-wheelers by holding the companies responsible for, say, blocked sidewalks. Advocacy groups like the Denver Streets Partnership also hope chosen operators, along with the city, will subsidize rides for low-income residents—though DPW has made this a recommendation, not a requirement. Still, micromobility fans such as Bicycle Colorado are “really optimistic,” says spokesman Jack Todd. Let’s hope that feeling doesn’t zip away.

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