City of Memphis making 'Shared Mobility Program' permanent; more scooters, bikes expected

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Get ready to see more scooters and shared bikes around town.

The City of Memphis announced it’s expanding its shared mobility program and is inviting new companies to Memphis.

After conducting a pilot phase for almost a year, Memphis will transition to a permanent Shared Mobility Program in June 2019. The city is hoping to permit three to five operators: a cumulative fleet of up to 3,000 vehicles.

A city spokesperson said the city will select operators through a “competitive application process” and evaluate applicants by their demonstrated experience, organizational and technological capacities, and alignment with the goals of the city’s newfound program.

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Memphis residents seemed to agree Monday that the program is a good thing for the city.

“People come here to Midtown specifically to get on and ride around. It’s become kind of a destination thing,” said Timothy Quinn, general manager of The Local. “I think there great. There’s a lot of people around town who can’t afford vehicles and it makes it tough to get around; it’s cumbersome to walk places when you have to go more than a couple of blocks,” he said.

There will soon be more options throughout the city.

The City of Memphis is leaving applications open through the end of April and hopes to have the new operators (similar to Lime, Bird, and Explore Bike Share) up and running by June 2019.

A city spokesperson made the following statement:

"More options means more access. A larger number of providers and a larger fleet of vehicles will provide an affordable transportation option to more Memphians, and more connections to opportunities. Shared mobility is revolutionizing the way that people get around in cities across the country. These services are reducing automobile dependency, and expanding the reach of traditional public transit. Increasing mobility options improves a community's quality-of-life, and the City is committed to delivering the benefits of these services in an equitable and safe manner." - Nicholas Oyler Bikeway and Pedestrian Program Manager

Quinn said he sees a similar train of thought at his restaurant daily.

“I have employees who work here that don’t have vehicles and can’t afford them and use them [scooters] to get to work every day,” he said.

FOX13 reached out to Lime and Bird scooter companies for information about how many rides have been taken in Memphis since their debut to the city in 2018.

Lime did not respond to the request, and a Bird spokesperson said that information was currently unavailable.

But Explore Bike Share had data for the last 11 months: Emily Cupples with Explore Bike Share said 30,804 trips have been taken since May 2018, totaling 1,117,322 minutes.

This spans across 96,599 total miles, burning 3,850,040 calories, and offsetting 91,731 carbon emissions.