Should they stay or should they go? Scooter pilot program ends Tuesday, city to begin mulling data

City leaders to examine everything from scooter-related injury reports compiled from local hospitals to detailed ridership data. A decision is expected in the next couple of months.

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People using dockless electric scooters.

A four-month trial of dockless electric scooters ends Tuesday night. Now the city will have to figure out how it went, and whether they’re worth keeping around for the long term.

File photo

To scooter or not to scooter?

This is the question city leaders will face when the electric scooter pilot program ends Tuesday at 10 p.m. after a four month trial period.

Anyone riding a scooter at the time will be able to finish their ride.

There’s no deadline on when the decision must be made, but a verdict is expected in the next couple months on whether to make scooters a permanent fixture or bid them adieu. A third option would be to enact a second trial period.

To help evaluate the program, the city launched an online survey Sept. 24 seeking public feedback. 

As of Oct. 6, 7,336 people had filled out the survey. It will be one factor in a laundry list of considerations that will range from poring over scooter-related injury reports compiled from local hospitals to examining detailed ridership data. And there’ll be plenty.

A total of 772,450 scooter rides had been taken as of Oct. 6.

“It is clear that there is demand for scooters in Chicago,” Chicago Department of Transportation Managing Deputy Commissioner Kevin O’Malley said in a statement.

Ten companies offered riders an array of different scooter models in the pilot program.

If the city decides to continue the scooter experiment, one or more of the companies could be tapped to provide services.

The scooters were able to operate within an area bordered by Irving Park Road to the north, the South Branch of the Chicago River to the south, city limits to the west and Halsted Street to the east.

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