Austin Transportation Department proposes final regulations for dockless mobility

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Following an involved public input process, which included a community survey that garnered nearly 10,000 responses, the Austin Transportation Department has proposed a set of final rules governing the use of dockless mobility technology.

Released on Oct. 2, the proposed set of rules are eligible to be adopted by Austin City Council between Nov. 3 and Dec. 11.

“We are reviewing the proposed regulations and look forward to continuing our work with the City to ease congestion while ensuring that riders have access to safe and reliable dockless mobility options throughout Austin,” wrote Trevor Theunissen, a spokesperson for Uber, in an email.

Uber owns the electric bikeshare service Jump, which launched in Austin in July.

Since the city began accepting operating permits in April, seven dockless mobility companies have released a total of 5,121 units, a mixture of electric scooters and electric bikes.

This is an increase from the 3,621 units the Transportation Department reported in use in August.

According to the notice, if council chooses to adopt the rules, dockless mobility companies would be required to:

  • Restrict the maximum speed of their motor-assisted vehicles to 15 mph.
  • Remove vehicles that are subject to complaints, obstructing the right of way or not complying with accessibility requirements in under two hours. In some cases, removal is required within an hour.
  • Educate users on lawful and safe use of their vehicles.
  • Install and maintain one parking box for every 10 units that are licensed in locations approved by the Transportation Department.
  • Report complaints and collisions to the city on a monthly basis.
  • Implement an outreach plan that promotes the use of dockless mobility technology in underserved neighborhoods and offering an affordable option for users at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level that does not require a smartphone.

City Council will meet twice—on Nov. 15 and Nov. 29—during the period in which these rules are eligible for adoption.

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Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her reporting focuses include employment and economic development. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.
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