Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert announced on Jan. 16 a plan beginning this spring to test dockless, shared electric scooters in the city of Omaha.
The pilot program is designed to help the city determine if the scooters are effective and support the city’s goals.
According to the city’s Master Plan goals, the scooters will “provide multimodal transportation options for enhanced mobility, create livable and connected neighborhoods, and attain a healthy and safe environment.”
The program is scheduled to begin in late March and continue until November, including up to three participating scooter companies.
“Dockless scooters have the potential to expand mobility options in Omaha,” Stothert said. “This pilot will give us the information we need to evaluate the long-term potential for this technology.”
Stothert said in a news conference that she believes many people will use and enjoy these scooters.
According to recent reporting from KETV 7 News, the scooters will operate similarly to those in larger cities such as Los Angeles and Dallas using the dockless method, so users can pick up a scooter anywhere, pay with the app and leave it anywhere once they have reached their destination.
Michael Reiner, senior director of Creighton Public Safety, said that Creighton sees this as a “potential opportunity to decrease motorized vehicle traffic and parking demand on campus while providing a fun and sustainable transportation option for our community.”
But, he added that it doesn’t exclude limitations on when and where they can be used on campus.
As safety is Creighton’s greatest concern, Reiner said that the University has been working with city planners to explore the options that are best for riders and pedestrians to keep them protected.
The requirements for each company’s scooters include a $10,000 permit, 50 cents per scooter per day, 5 cents per ride per day, front and rear lights and speeds not exceeding 15 miles per hour.
Stothert also mentioned she would like to see the requirements like helmets, age and staying in the right-of-way enforced, as she doesn’t see other cities following those requirements.
“That’s why the city is launching the pilot,” she said.
Donna Shahbazi, CSU President and College of Arts and Sciences junior, said that she advocated on behalf of the scooters.
“I see great benefits for it from Creighton’s perspective,” she said.
According to Shahbazi, once Omaha approves the three scooter companies, Creighton will be able to take action and determine the rules and requirements for the scooters on campus.