Why E-Scooters Are About to Disappear from Streets in Pittsburgh

Spin Scooters were part of a two-year pilot phase of the Move PGH program and not everyone is sorry to see them go.
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The small orange-and-black Spin Scooters will soon be removed from city streets.

E-scooters were part of the two-year pilot phase of Move PGH, a program that “sought to bring together existing and new mobility operators to create a more affordable, accessible and equitable mobility ecosystem,” according to a July 7 press release from the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure.

The scooter program, a first for the state, concluded on Sunday with “an indefinite pause in shared e-scooter operations,” the release reads. Scooters are expected to be removed from streets in the coming weeks.

More than 1 million trips were taken on the Spin Scooters since the program’s inception in July 2021. Spin is a San Francisco-based electric bike and scooter operation company.

A Move PGH survey study shows users of lower incomes used the scooters more frequently. Nearly half of riders used the scooters to commute, 44.9% used them to meet family and/or friends, 23% used them for dining out and shopping and 19% used them for running errands.

While the motorized scooters were useful, many Pittsburghers said on social media that they are thankful the program has ended.

Many residents consider the scooters a nuisance because riders do not follow the rules associated with riding them.

In August 2021, Spin officials told Pittsburgh Magazine more than 100 warnings were being issued to rides per week in Pittsburgh for poor parking or riding. 

Users would discard the scooters in the middle of sidewalks, bike lanes, parking spaces and in front of driveways, prompting an outcry via social media, including on the city’s 311 Response Center Twitter account.

Is this the end of the e-scooter program?

The city press release notes state officials are continuing to “work through the complicated legislative process surrounding e-scooters, amid difficult budget negotiations.”

According to the Move PGH website, state officials are voting on Senate Bill 692 to support the continuation of the e-scooter program and to expand it to other municipalities. A sample letter for residents to send to legislators to show their support indicates the scooters have aided in removing 450,000 miles traveled by car from city streets, which they claim has reduced traffic congestion and emissions and improved road safety.

Other modes of transportation under the Move PGH umbrella — the POGOH bikeshare, Zipcar carshare and the Pittsburgh Regional Transit — will continue to operate without interruption.

Categories: The 412