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Scooter and bike rentals are coming to Waco

Posted at 5:57 AM, Apr 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-23 06:57:52-04

A scooter and bike rental pilot program will launch in Waco this summer.

After several companies submitted requests for proposals to the city, staff selected Gotcha as the vendor for the program.

The company will bring 50 bikes and 50 scooters to the city in June that users will be able to rent through a phone app.

"I think a shared mobility program with e-bikes and e-scooters will be a good complement with the growth that is happening downtown. Getting people out of their cars and have more opportunities to walk and bike are great for Waco," said Chelsea Phlegar, City of Waco Senior Planner.

Users must be 18 years of age, wear a helmet and follow traffic rules. They will only be able to ride on streets and shared used paths, such as the riverwalk.

William Conrad, a criminal defense attorney his law firm in downtown Waco. The criminal defense attorney who is blind said he can appreciate bringing scooters to the city as another form of transportation. However, he has concerns about their parking.

"[My wife] and I witnessed it when we were in Austin. We went to a football game in the fall. We had to go out and walk in the street because they were so many scooters piled up in areas marked as no scooter. I don't want that to happen in Waco," Conrad said.

Phlegar said there will be designated parking areas for the scooters downtown and in the commercial areas of Elm Avenue and uptown.

There will be consequences if users don't follow the rules.

"There is going a small fine associated with that and if they park in area that has specifically been designated 'no parking' or totally outside the pilot program there will be a much larger fine," Phlegar said.

If Waco residents notice a bike or a scooter is improperly parked, they can call a number listed on the rental. Team members from Gotcha will be in Waco picking up those bikes and scooters and parking them in the appropriate location.

"Gotcha is excited to launch e-bikes and e-scooters in the city of Waco, TX. Gotcha operates fleets of shared mobility devices that are organized at hubs. The City of Waco and Gotcha are working together to strategically determine convenient hub locations throughout the city. Riders can locate hub locations within the Gotcha app," said Caroline Passe, Gotcha Director of Public Relations. "Our integrated smart lock encourages users to end rides at designated parking hub locations. This means bikes and scooters live in safe and predictable areas where they’re easy for riders to find without cluttering the streets or sidewalks. Riders will be charged an out-of-service area fee if they don’t park in a designated Gotcha mobility hub area. We look forward bringing a sustainable micro-transit program to the city of Waco that’s build for longevity."

On April 30, city staff will ask city council to enter an agreement with Gotcha to move the process forward.

If the pilot program goes well, the city will have the option to extend the contract and increase the number of scooters and bikes.