ST. GEORGE — Although city officials say the change is just part of doing business, a contract between Spin – the Ford Motor Company-owned provider of electric scooters – and the company that manages the fleet in St. George has not been renewed. Moving forward, Spin will no longer provide the city with what has grown to be a popular option for getting around town.
The program in St. George created synergy through a partnership between the city, Spin and Zagster, the Boston-based entity that provides fleet management and maintenance for the scooters, as well as involvement in the city’s bike-share program.
According to city officials, Zagster’s bike-share program has not been canceled, but a company spokesperson for Spin told St. George News that their contract with Zagster to supply e-scooters has been terminated.
“In the past year, Spin has grown from six scooter markets to more than 60, with the vast majority operated by Spin itself,” the spokesperson said. “This has allowed Spin to invest deeply in its team members and the internal operations technology they use, as well as develop new consumer products, like charging stations.”
The spokesperson said that Zagster ultimately holds the contract with the city.
“We are confident they will find another operator to supply e-scooters.”
The spokesperson could not officially comment as to which party had terminated the contract between the two companies, and Zagster could not be reached for comment.
Marc Mortensen, St. George’s director of support services, confirmed Zagster was considering other companies to supply the city with the alternative form of transportation.
“Zagster is working with a couple of partners to bring another product into (our) market that would operate very similar to Spin,” Mortensen said.
It is unclear what the product line would look like, Mortensen said, whether a dedicated scooter or a cross between a bike and scooter.
“Nevertheless it would probably be 200-400 (units) coming in,” he said. “We anticipate a launch date somewhere in May or early June.”
The fleet of Spin app-accessible electric scooters that rolled out in St. George at the end of March 2019 proved more successful than city officials first anticipated. What began with 100 scooters, scattered for rent at approximately 30 locations around town, quickly expanded to 400 scooters.
Mortensen said the new contract with Zagster has been drastically modified, dropping the city’s portion of e-scooter rentals from $1 per day to 10 cents. However, city officials say because of the popularity, they anticipate this will generate a “fair” amount of approximately $1,000 per month.
“Getting $1 per day is just not the reality right now nationwide,” Mortensen said. “We figured 10 cents a day is better than nothing.”
He said the relationship with Zagster remains solid, and the city’s contract remains in place.
Zagster is currently considering two or three other vendors of e-scooters for the St. George market, Mortensen said. It is anticipated he said the minimum rollout will be 200 scooters.
“We don’t know where we will end up yet, but we are interested,” he said. “We just want the service in our community to allow people to get around.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mortensen doubts a formal rollout ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held but said that sanitizing practices Zagster already uses with its bike-share program would be applied to the new fleet of e-scooters as well.
In a previous interview with St. George News in October, Mortensen credited the success of the program with how well all of the partners involved have worked together in bringing the e-scooter program to St. George.
Shortly after launch, ridership outpaced expectations, averaging 18,000 trips a month, Mortensen said.
At that point, Spin said there had been more than 100,000 trips on an e-scooter in St. George since the program launched, averaging just over 11 minutes per ride and 2.3 miles in distance.
One of the largest demographics using the scooters were students attending Dixie State University.
Although ridership declined somewhat during the summer because of the relatively hot weather and fluctuating student usage, it was something city officials anticipated.
Phil LeClare, Zagster’s head of public relations said in October that the partnership had been a win-win for everyone.
While the specifics of the data information are proprietary to Spin, city officials said the heaviest scooter traffic is between Bluff Street and River Road, Diagonal Street to 700 South and throughout the entirety of the trail system.
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