On Earth Day, the city of Hartford announced a brand-new version of Green public transportation. Rentable and shareable electric scooters are now part of the Hartford transportation landscape.
With their bright yellow paint schemes, LINK scooters were made available Thursday. The first of what will eventually be 250 scooters were deployed around the city, and they were generating plenty of curiosity.
“It’s going to be exciting to try it out and scoot around town,” said Sinead Coleman of Broadbrook.
Already in 21 cities, Hartford becomes the first New England community with them. Tyron Harris said he has used them in Indianapolis.
“I thought it was an amazing experience riding around town going from building to building, going to meetings,” said Harris of East Hartford.
Hartford leaders are hoping people take advantage of the e-scooters. They are also hoping the scooters won’t create the same problems seen with LIME bike rentals in 2018. That experience resulted in damaged and misused bikes. Mayor Luke Bronin believes this will be different.
“I think the LINK team that is bringing the scooters studied that and learned from that,” said Bronin. “We’re going to continue to experiment and we’re going to continue to adjust as we need to adjust.”
To prevent scooters from disappearing, LINK said they have seven dedicated employees to gather equipment.
“We see on the app that it’s not parked where it should be and we will go and fix that and correct that,” said LINK Public Affairs Director Paul White.
The scooters have a top speed of 15 miles per hour. They are electronically controlled and will be contained within a Geo-fence, a virtual perimeter which can lower speeds or stop the scooter automatically. Currently, the scooters are limited to downtown but will expand to other neighborhoods soon.
To access these scooters, the LINK app must be downloaded. Users register and are given a QR code. The fee is a dollar to unlock the system, plus 35 cents per minute.
Aside from convenience, organizers aim to create more transportation equity, providing a 70% discount to any rider who is currently receiving government assistance. To access this discount, riders must verify eligibility by first registering with the “Link-Up” program on the link.city website.
“This is a very significant population that we are serving, and we are looking to serve more,” said Paul Mondesire, head of policy and community engagement for LINK's parent company, Super Pedestrian.
On Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., representatives from LINK scooters will be holding a safety session at the Burr Mall to encourage safe riding.
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