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Parked scooters find a place to belong

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Austin Transportation is kicking off the first phase of a six-month shared scooter parking and charging station pilot this week with 10 scooter docking stations set up mostly around downtown and other high scooter traffic areas. The docking stations belong to Swiftmile Inc., a company that considers itself “a gas station of the future” and a “smart-charging micromobility platform” according to a recent interview with CEO Colin Roche. The stations will each perform the simple task of keeping between six and eight scooters held upright and out of the middle of the sidewalk during the pilot’s first phase. But depending on when demand for scooters returns, the stations will eventually be outfitted with batteries to recharge the scooters as they are parked in the docks. Austin Transportation is aiming to kick off the second phase in late August, but ridership remains very low; this month, the city totaled about 38,000 micromobility trips compared to more than 432,000 trips in June 2019. Swiftmile normally charges scooter operators by the minute for its charging services, but will offer its services at no cost for the duration of the pilot. By reducing the need for combustion engine vehicles to round up scooters and charge them overnight, Swiftmile claims to play a pivotal role in the transition to green mobility infrastructure, making it easier for companies like Lime, which has declared zero-emission target dates, to achieve those goals while also helping declutter sidewalks for pedestrians.

Stations are located at:

  • 900 Electric Drive
  • 609 Davis St.
  • 1100 E. Fifth St.
  • 2104 Guadalupe St.
  • 401 Congress Ave.
  • 601 Congress Ave.
  • 500 W. Second St.
  • 302 E. Cesar Chavez St.
  • 114 Barton Springs Road
  • 1412 S. Congress Ave.

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