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Provo to start new e-scooter ride-sharing program

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PROVO — This week, Provo will add one more reason to call 2019 its “year of transportation.”

On August 8, the city officially launches its e-scooter sharing program at the intersection of 680 North and 200 East at 10 a.m.

Provo to add a popular new mode of transportation

In a press release, Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi says, “We are excited to offer this program to all who live, work and play in Provo.”

“Scooters and bikes have emerged as a popular mode of transportation among students and commuters who use them as last-mile transportation from bus stops or train stations,” the mayor’s statement continued.  It will cost $1 to unlock a scooter and 15 cents per minute to ride.

The program will kick off with 200 scooters made by the Spin start-up. The city says it will add 300 more scooters if the public response warrants more.

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 What about safety?

Along with the convenience and the possibility that commuters will save a little money, there are potential safety issues. Just this week, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett issued a stern warning to those who ride e-scooters in his city. And he said he may not allow any more scooter vendors to have city licenses.

At least one U.S. mayor, David Briley of Nashville, is considering an e-scooter ban unless the companies that make them can better guarantee rider safety. And a CNN study found that 1 in 3 e-scooter riders were injured on their first ride.

A study by Consumer Reports found that at least eight people have died in e-scooter-related accidents since 2017.  The same study found that 1,500 people had been injured.

Provo’s ‘Year of Transportation’

The addition of e-scooters is Provo’s third major transportation project to be unveiled within a year. The others are the completion of the Utah Valley Express light rail line, or UVX, and the announcement that the city will expand the airport.

The UVX runs between southwest Orem and south-central Provo and connects Utah Valley University and Brigham Young University. The expansion of the Provo Airport will add a new terminal and four new gates.