One year pilot program recommended for electric scooters in Norfolk

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A one year pilot program has been recommended for electric scooters in the city of Norfolk.

Jessica Dennis, a management analyst for the city, recommended a single-year trial run with a vendor during a city council work session Tuesday night.

Dennis’ recommendation comes months after city leaders were taken by surprise when hundreds of Bird scooters descended overnight into the community. 

Because they currently are illegal, the city has impounded 523 scooters at $35 a piece and are charging $5 each day they’re left in the lot. 

Bird has racked up $201,000 of fines as of Dec. 5 — and the company has yet to pay the fines. 

These scooters are spreading to cities around the U.S., leaving each municipality to figure out how to handle the new trend. 

“So we are really open to alternative transportation. We understand that people should have choices about how they want to get from point A to point B,” said Lori Crouch, Norfolk’s director of corporate communications. 

The scooters are legal in certain areas of Virginia Beach. 

Mason Zwanziger and Jared Lacy, visitors from Iowa, took a few for a ride by the Oceanfront. 

“You can cover a lot of ground, see everything you want to see, you get a lot quicker to where you want to go,” Zwanziger said. Lacy lauded the scooters for being a cheap mode of transportation. 

Virginia Beach is still working on their own system of regulation. They’ve confiscated 307 scooters left in places they aren’t supposed to be — like the middle of sidewalks. 

Under Dennis’ recommended plan, Norfolk would issue a request for proposals by the end of 2018, and select a vendor sometime in early 2019. The pilot program would then begin in the spring.

Council has not yet decided whether or not they will move forward with this plan.

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