E-scooter service expands to Santa Clara, Washington City with goal of being ready in time for Ironman

ST. GEORGE — Electric scooters will begin to roll into Santa Clara and Washington City in the coming weeks thanks to the city councils’ approval of contracts with Spin, the company that has provided e-scooter service to St. George over the past year.

Santa Clara City Hall, Santa Clara, Utah, Nov. 13, 2019 | Photo by Ryann Richardson, St. George News

The Santa Clara City Council was the first to approve their agreement with Spin following a unanimous vote Wednesday evening. City officials had originally been in talks with Spin about bringing e-scooters to the city prior to the pandemic. Though delayed, Spin recently renewed expansion efforts into the cities neighboring St. George.

“We’ve had a lot of folks who have used the scooters in St. George and are going to the app in Santa Clara to see if they can take one of the those scooters and go around this area or into another jurisdiction,” Alex April, head of government partnerships for Spin, told the Santa Clara City Council prior to its vote.

The e-scooters can be accessed through the use of a smart phone app. There will also be designated scooters stationed at various spots around the city, and when a user is done, the scooters will be picked up by Spin employees and taken to a company facility for upkeep and charging.

April said Spin maintains a local crew that retrieves the scooters through the use of GPS tracking. The same GPS system also keeps the scooters from operating in areas of the city where they aren’t allowed, through a process called “geo-fencing.”

App-controlled electronic scooters parked on a city street, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Spin, St. George News

The agreement between Santa Clara and Spin allows to 50 to 100 e-scooters to be brought into the city. Station locations are yet to be finalized. It is a goal of the company to make a large volume of e-scooters available for use by the time the Ironman 70.3 World Championship comes to St. George in mid-September.

Following the Santa Clara City Council’s vote, Spin representatives moved to their next council meeting in Washington City, where the agreement was approved in a 4-1 vote.

The Washington City Council had discussed allowing e-scooters into the city during a work meeting last month, when they were generally in favor of the idea. A draw for some of the council members was the connectivity and continuity of service using Spin would provide across the board.

“The fun thing about it is that you can go from Washington City to Santa Clara and everywhere in between,” Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson told St. George News.

In this 2019 file photo, an e-scooter launch event is held on the Dixie State University campus, St. George, Utah, March 7, 2019 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

During Wednesday’s council meeting, Rusty Hughes, the city’s economic development director, said Spin had a good track record of working with city governments and other partners about where and how scooters could be used in a city. She also noted St. George had given the company high marks thus far.

During a year of service in St. George, Spin recorded more than 120,000 scooter rides that lasted an average of 21 minutes per trip.

“This gets people up and moving,” Washington City Council member Kurt Ivie said. “Sometimes its also used as transportation. We’re excited to provide these opportunities to our residents.”

As a part of its agreement with Spin, there will be no charging stations in Washington City for the scooters. Instead, they will be taken to the Spin facility in St. George. There will also be a 15 cent fee added per ride that will go to Washington City.

Spin e-scooters, St. George, Utah, Oct. 7, 2019 | Photo by Ryann Richardson, St. George News

Between 200 and 300 scooters are expected to be rolled out in Washington City as the Ironman race approaches.

Washington City Council member Roger Bundy was the only one to vote against the agreement, citing general safety concerns related to the scooter use.

Both the Santa Clara and Washington City agreements mirror the one made with St. George and will run for a year, at which point all three contracts will come up for review.

California-based Spin has operated in the St. George area and the Dixie State University campus since 2019, putting Southern Utah among 80 cities and university campuses served by the company across the United States and Europe.

The fee to rent a Spin scooter is $1 to unlock it, then 10-35 cents a minute depending on the range traveled. Reduced costs also exist for those who qualify.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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