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Bolt Scooter Rethinks Future Releases After Recent Vandalisms In Richmond

Mayor Levar Stoney on a bolt electric scooter

Bolt Mobility is rethinking if they will release updated, electric scooters in metro Richmond. 

The popular scooters have recently been the subject of a number of defacings. Scooters have been set on fire, thrown over a bridge, and sawed in half. Will Nicholas, Vice President of operations for the company, said this string of events is making him reconsider.

“It causes us pause as we consider launching our next generation product,” Nicholas said.

The upcoming products, which are called the “Bolt 1” and the “Bolt Chariot,” were described as more durable than the current Bolt scooters in the Richmond area.

“We’ve put a lot of time and investment into researching and developing these products...We don’t want to risk putting them out into the public if it’s presumed that they’ll be damaged upon deployment,” Nicholas said.

Among the numerous locations where Bolt scooters are used, including Miami, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C., Nicholas said Richmond has seen more vandalisms than any other market, which is something authorities are keeping track of. 

A spokesperson for the Richmond Police Department said they are currently “implementing a newly developed process” to efficiently collect data on all the vandalisms that have occurred. Nicholas said there have been dozens of them.

“We’re using this time to really buckle down, work with the local authorities, identify the people that are vandalizing our scooters...and then continue to educate folks on the benefits of this program,” said Nicholas. 

The police department says anyone who's caught damaging Bolt scooters will be charged with vandalism and receive a fine of $1,000, depending on the severity of the damage. If that damage exceeds $1,000, that person can be charged with a felony. 

Richmond Police Department says they will continue to be on the look-out for any kind of destruction of property “observed by officers or by complaint.” They encourage any city resident who witnesses somebody damaging the scooters to call the police.

Bolt also has a 24-hour hotline (1-866-BOLT-143) that is used to track and report broken or inoperable scooters. 

*WCVE intern Malcolm Key reported this story.

 

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