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Dockless E-Scooters Back On Richmond Roads

stoney on bolt scooter
VPM News File
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney joined representatives from Bolt at their launch event on Thursday.

On Thursday, the company Bolt Mobility became the first electric scooter company to launch in Richmond under the city’s new permitting process.

The South Florida-based startup is rolling out a fleet of 500 dockless e-scooters. Thirty-five percent of those scooters, around 175, will be placed in low-income neighborhoods, according to Bolt. The rest will be placed in high-density neighborhoods near downtown.

At a press conference in Monroe Park, Stoney said e-scooters will add to a growing list of alternative transportation options in the city.

“E-scooters will help us fill the gap in our transportation network,” Stoney said. “They’re there for the first mile and also for the last mile.”

Richmond City Council approved new regulations and a permitting process for e-scooter companies in January. Other companies such as Lime and Bird launched in Richmond last year with little warning and drew complaints from residents that felt they were unsafe and littered city sidewalks. Bolt will now have to abide by new safety regulations like carrying insurance and a speed limit of 15 miles per hour.

Will Nicholas, the vice president of operations for Bolt, said he looks forward to working with the city. He said the company chose to launch in Richmond because of its rapid growth.

“As businesses, young people and families start to move to concentrated central business districts and downtown neighborhoods, these make for really nice assets to get from your home to a cafe or your work,” Nicholas said.

Bolt already has about 15 employees and a warehouse near The Diamond. Those employees will be in charge of educating Richmonders on how to properly use the dockless scooters and picking them up at night to be recharged.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for Louisville Public Media.
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