Little Rock has decided to put a potential bike-sharing program on hold in favor of a different mode of transportation. The city released a request for proposals in November for the bike share program. The proposal said Phase One, which would have launched the beginning of a six-year program, would provide a minimum of 200 bikes in the downtown/River Market area for people to use.
The deadline for that initial request was December 11. However, according to Little Rock Mayor, Mark Stodola, the city is placing the bike share program on hold. In an interview with KUAR, Stodola said the city is trying to figure out exactly how to make the bike-share program work for the city.
In the meantime, the city is teaming up with Lime, an e-scooter company, to launch a pilot program to soon have e-scooters available for use.
“My understanding is that scooters are really the direction everybody’s going in. So I decided that we would do a pilot program with e-scooters and they’re going to be here in the city towards the end of the month,” Stodola said.
According to Stodola, he met with employees at Lime recently in San Francisco at its headquarters to talk about a pilot program. Ironically, the city of San Francisco did not choose Lime to be one of the e-scooters allowed on its streets.
Lime is just one company that specializes in e-scooters. Its competitors include Spin, Skip and Bird. These scooters can be found all across the United States and internationally too. Lime alone has programs in 31 states and 16 other countries, according to its website. Little Rock would be the first city in Arkansas, Lime has partnered with. The company Bird has already launched scooters in Russellville.
According to Lime’s FAQ page, those who would want to use a Lime e-scooter would first need to download the Lime App on their smartphone. Afterward, they would tap the “ride” button and either scan or manually input the scooter’s QR code into your device. Lime e-scooters cost $1 to unlock, and a fee per minute to ride. Normally that fee is around 15 cents a minute. Users would pay via the app with their credit or debit card.
While the e-scooters will first be available for use in the downtown and River Market areas, Stodola says he hopes to expand the program to other areas.
“We’re going to try and catch the universities. We’re going to be looking at UA Little Rock as perhaps a remote site. And there may be some other neighborhoods that become remote sites too,” Stodola said. “We just don’t know yet until exactly how accepted they are and how respectful people are going to be with them.”
Stodola says visitors to the Downtown and River Market areas could begin to see the e-scooters starting the week between Christmas and New Year’s or even a little earlier.