Wichita leaders get feedback on scooter popularity, concerns

WICHITA, Kan. Wichita city leaders get feedback on the addition of scooters and how the new rides fit into the city's transportation future.

The scooters gained popularity in the short time they've been in Wichita. The numbers tell the story, showing how much people enjoy the riding them.

Roxanne Aubrey is among those who enjoy having scooters downtown. She and other stylists at the House of Hair salon are using the scooters for a team-building scavenger hunt.

The scooters in Wichita are part of a one-year pilot program. Two months in, usage numbers are looking good for the city.

"What they see in other cities and what they have told us is that they are very happy with the usage of the scooters compared to other communities like size and even larger, with regards to initial roll out," Wichita Transit Executive Director Mike Tann says.

Tan says scooter usage is averaging about 1,000 trips per day with more usage on weekends. Even so, some are still concerned about safety.

Many calls coming into 911 concerning the scooters are to report riders not following the rules, especially riding on sidewalks.

Aubrey says safety is a top priority for her team.

"We're being careful. We're following all the scooter rules," she says. "If you're driving a vehicle, like you're going to watch for traffic and you're going to watch for traffic lights and you're going to watch for other people and be aware of your surroundings at all times."

Wichita City Council member Brandon Johnson says he's not surprised to see the scooters' popularity and the average number of rides per day coming out to about 1,000.

He says ultimately, he wants to make sure the scooters are not only safe, but beneficial to everyone in the city.

"In some cities you see these things just laying there, and that is one of the things that we didn't want to see here in Wichita," Johnson says. "I am looking at, what tweaks can we make to make sure these things stay all in one location, to keep our city as pretty as it is? Also, the safety aspect, what are we doing with bike lanes? What are we doing about the speed requirement on streets where the scooters are?