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E-scooter rentals to roll out soon in Eugene

A row of parked yellow scooters that are plugged into charging outlets.
Chris Lehman
Eugene's new e-scooter program is rolling out soon. These scooters are charging in a warehouse near downtown Eugene and will hit the streets later in March.

Eugene’s first-ever e-scooter rental program is set to roll out later this month.

About 600 yellow, battery-powered scooters will be available to rent for 39 cents a minute plus a $2 up-front charge. They go up to 15 miles per hour.

The city-approved program is a partnership between local nonprofit Cascadia Mobility and Superpedestrian, a company that offers e-scooter rentals in about 60 cities worldwide. Eugene will represent the company's first operations in Oregon. On the West Coast, it offers scooters for rent in Seattle and four locations in California, according to its website.

Renters must have an account with Superpedestrian, be at least 18 years old and use a bike helmet.

Scott Holt oversees West Coast operations for Superpedestrian.

“We encourage everyone to follow the rules of the road, which would be in the bike lane, or anywhere a car can go," said Scott Holt, who oversees West Coast operations for Superpedestrian. "We definitely encourage all riders to not ride on the sidewalk.”

The scooters are limited to the city of Eugene and will shut off automatically if a rider tries to drive out of town. That's possible due to a "geofencing" device installed on the scooters that lets program managers track the location of any scooter at any given time. It's also what helps the company track down scooters that users have tried to stash on private property in order to easily find them for their next ride.

"The local team would be monitoring that, and they're out and about actually knocking on doors and introducing themselves and saying 'Hi, could we please have the scooter to put it back in the general right-of-way," said Holt. "It happens often. It's all right, but we just want to educate customers on the best way to end the ride."

Cascadia Mobility also oversees Eugene's bikeshare program, PeaceHealth Rides, which will continue to be offered. The e-scooters could appeal to people who want to use a car less, but who need to travel further than what they would be able to on a bike.

"The goal for us is to improve access to alternative modes of transportation," said Justin Sandoval, the community engagement manager for Cascadia Mobility.

The e-scooter program is set to debut on March 31 in Eugene. The city says a launch event is planned for 12-2 p.m. that day at the EWEB Plaza.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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