Santa Clara considers introducing electric scooters, e-bikes inside city limits

ST. GEORGE — Electric scooters and e-bikes could be making their way to Santa Clara. 

During Wednesday’s work meeting of the Santa Clara City Council, members discussed the possibility of bringing Zagster’s motorized, pay-by-the-minute scooters and e-bikes to the city. 

Two years ago, the city of St. George signed an agreement with Zagster to bring e-bikes to Southern Utah. Only a year later, the city signed another agreement to bring electric scooters to the area.

City Manager Brock Jacobsen presented the idea to the council and shared information he had gathered from St. George City Council members and Zagster associates. The council looked over St. George’s contract with the company to get a better understanding of what an agreement might look like.

“I say ‘yes,'” councilman Ben Shakespeare said, earning a few chuckles from his colleagues. “Let’s make this quick, I say ‘yes.’ Where are we putting them?”

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

Kaci Lund, who manages vacation homes, said she contacted Jacobsen after she recognized a need for fun, short-distance transportation for her guests.

Safety, revenue and cost are the council’s three biggest concerns moving forward. Councilman Herb Basso touched briefly on the scooters’ potential maximum speeds, abandoned scooters in the walkway and liability.

Jacobsen proposed geofencing more populated areas in order to minimize the scooters’ top speeds and avoid injury.

City Attorney Matt Ence said after reviewing the St. George contract, Zagster protects the city from any liability. In the two years that St. George has partnered with Zagster, there has only been one claim, according to Ence.

Ultimately, it comes down to being proactive and educating residents on how to safely enjoy the scooters, Jacobsen said.

Kaci Lund, manager of Utah’s Best Vacation Homes, speaks with the Santa Clara City Council during a work meeting, Santa Clara, Utah, Sept. 4, 2019 | Photo by Ryann Richardson, St. George

He said he is hoping to have members of Zagster visit with the council sometime in October to present on the benefits of having motorized scooters and bikes in Santa Clara. The city is hoping to use Zagster’s initiative as a means to ensure cohesion between St. George and Santa Clara.

There are currently 400 Zagster scooters in St. George, with a possible opportunity to increase to 600 scooters in the near future. Each scooter is located, picked up, charged and delivered to a drop-off site within the city each day. Riders pay an initial $1 fee with an additional $.25 per minute. Similarly, bikers pay $1 for every 30 minutes of use.

St. George currently earns $1 per scooter per day for every scooter deployed and receives quarterly checks from Zagster. The company is considering expanding to Springdale and Washington City.

The Santa Clara City Council will hold it’s next meeting Sept. 9 at 5 p.m.

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

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