E-scooter initiative officially launches in St. George

St. George Mayor Jon Pike takes the inaugural ride on an e-scooter during a launch event on the Dixie State University campus, St. George, Utah, March 7, 2019 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A new fleet of app-controlled electric scooters launched in St. George Thursday, giving residents and visitors a new way to get around town and enjoy the city’s paved trails.

E-scooter launch event on the Dixie State University campus, St. George, Utah, March 7, 2019 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

The launch of the new scooters was highlighted during an event on the Dixie State University campus, allowing students and the general public a chance to try the new pay-as-you-go e-scooters.

“What better place than the home of the Trailblazers to be able to come here and start this trailblazing initiative,” DSU President Richard “Biff” Williams said.

The new self-propelled scooters are activated via a smartphone app available for Android or iOS. Each scooter is equipped with GPS, and a map within the app shows the user the exact location of nearby scooters.

Scooters will be staged in 30 locations each morning to ensure a wide range throughout the city.

Scooters are unlocked after the user scans a QR code and agrees to pay a by-the-minute rental fee. The battery-powered scooters may then be driven within St. George city limits and can be parked anywhere on city and campus property, as long they’re not blocking streets or disability ramps.

Dixie State University President Richard “Biff” Williams takes the inaugural ride on an e-scooter during a launch event on the Dixie State University campus, St. George, Utah, March 7, 2019 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

The scooters can reach maximum speeds of approximately 12.5 mph. The scooters may be ridden on sidewalks, city streets or paved trails, and helmet use is highly encouraged.

The scooters are expected to see heavy use on the Dixie State University campus for a quick way to get around between classes. Williams said the scooters also have the potential to reduce traffic on campus.

“Hopefully we won’t have as many cars that have to be on our campus, and we can build buildings instead of parking lots,” he said.

Spin, the company launching the program, also operates the Zagster bike-share rental service launched last year in St. George.

Spin functions independently from the city and covers the entire cost of equipment, marketing and operations. The company also works with paid contractors to charge the scooters’ batteries each evening and place them around the city early the next morning.

“Having Spin scooters arrive in St. George is huge for us and we expect them to be very popular throughout the city – and especially at Dixie State,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said.

E-scooter launch event on the Dixie State University campus, St. George, Utah, March 7, 2019 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Pike and Williams took the scooters for a short inaugural ride around campus, eventually blazing through a “finish line” set up by the Dixie Sunshiners.

The bright orange and black scooters were lined up along the plaza surrounding the clock tower on campus, many of which were taken for a “spin” by the crowd of students and citizens who gathered for the event.

Each of these test drivers was given a quick safety primer in which Spin employees implored riders to watch out for other people and be courteous while riding and parking.

“Safety is paramount with Spin,” company representative Alysia Montaño said at the event, explaining that the scooters are designed to be “100 percent safe.”

About 100 scooters will be placed around the city starting Friday morning, with plans to roll out 200-400 more over the next few weeks on an as-needed basis.

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Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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