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ELECTRIC SCOOTERS RETURN TO KNOXVILLE AS OF MAY 1

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That buzz you hear around Knoxville isn’t a swarm of oversized mosquitoes. It’s the hum of electric scooters returning to the city streets as of today.

As part of a one-year pilot program, Zagster and VeoRide are each initially introducing 50 scooters into Knoxville. Over time, if demand warrants it, each company will provide as many as 250 of the electrified rides.

And, if the program works out well, the initial one-year agreements with the city may be renewed.

Riders will be required to operate the scooters in the road – not on sidewalks or greenways – with the flow of traffic; they must wear helmets and obey all traffic laws. Also, pedestrian-heavy areas, like Market Square, Krutch Park, Henley Bridge and parts of Cumberland Avenue, are verboten. Riders who misuse scooters or fail to adhere to traffic rules are subject to fines or ticketing.

The city attempted to launch the scooter program March 20, after a resolution passed in February to permit electric-scooter companies to operate there, but officials needed to address geofencing issues to prevent use of the vehicles in prohibited areas.

Since then, both companies have been field testing the scooters, shaking out bugs in the systems and checking to ensure the geofencing mapping works properly.

The scooter-rental systems will both operate via downloadable apps. The charge to unlock a scooter is $1; and it’s 15¢ per minute.

During the launch period, VeoRide users may access free rides with the following codes: VeoKnox, WeAllKnox, and ScootKnox.

Zagster also operates Pace, a bike-share program in Knoxville.

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