(November 19, 2020) – The City of Birmingham has approved the applications for two micromobility vendors to operate shared bikes and scooters in a wide service area that includes downtown and many neighborhoods. South Carolina-based Gotcha and Illinois-based Veo will begin operation in early 2021.
Individuals may download the vendors’ apps to identify available bikes and scooters and pay for rentals. The city’s Department of Transportation will establish 94 corrals throughout the service area. Each vendor will deploy 500 devices each in the first 90 days of operations. Both the number of devices and service area may expand based on an assessment by the Department of Transportation.
Users may pay for their ride on the vendors’ apps by credit/debit card or with a prepaid debit card. In addition, Gotcha plans to offer RFID cards at libraries and other locations. RFID cards can be used to unlock bikes and scooters by people who may not have a smartphone.
Bikes will be available at any time. Scooters will be unavailable from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Under the city ordinance and in keeping with current traffic laws, bikes and scooters will not be allowed on sidewalks. Police officers can write citations for those who ride on the sidewalk.
Bikes and scooters should be parked in corrals established by the city and identified with signage. Users who do not park in corrals will be charged a $2 convenience fee by the vendors. Both Gotcha and Veo will be responsible for removing bikes or scooters that have not been left in appropriate locations.
Scooters will have a maximum speed of 15 m.p.h.
Users must be 19 years old to operate scooters and have a government-issued drivers’ license. An 18-year-old may ride a bike or scooter that has been rented by a parent or legal guardian.
While users are not required to wear helmets, they are strongly encouraged.
The return of micromobility options in the city follows approval earlier this year of a new ordinance allowing the operation of motorized scooters in the city. During an application process both Gotcha and Veo, experienced vendors in other cities around the nation, were approved. The vendors pay the city an administrative fee of $20 per device. Vendors also pay a fee for the city to establish corrals throughout the service area. The vendors set the price for rides, not the city.