GR launching e-scooter share program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Grand Rapids is launching an e-scooter share program Wednesday.

The city and Spin, owned by the Ford Motor Company, are starting the pilot program in phases.

Spin will offer unlimited free rides up to 60 minutes this upcoming weekend from 6 a.m. Friday to midnight Sunday to celebrate the beginning of the program.

Normally, scooters are $1 to unlock, plus 15 cents per minute. Low-income residents will be offered a reduced rate.

Riders can sign up for the Spin app to get the scooters and view the map to find the nearest designated parking area, according to a news release from the city.

The city said there will also be options to use the program without a smartphone.

Officials say it will start with a 12 square-mile area that includes downtown, neighborhoods and business districts.

Spin will begin with 300 scooters. It can scale up its fleet to as many as 1,500. The pilot also will serve 74% of under-served neighborhoods, the city said.

The City Commission earlier this month approved $400,000 for an e-scooter and bike-share pilot program. The e-scooter program is part of the city’s plan to enhance transportation options in Grand Rapids.

Officials note the scooters can only go 10 miles per hour. The scooters will also automatically slow or power down when it crosses a specific area or goes into pedestrian-only zones like college campuses or Calder Plaza.

Spin staffers will disinfect the scooters every time it’s collected and brought back to their warehouse for inspection.

Riders are encouraged to wear masks, use a disinfectant wipe on the handlebars, wash their hands before and after riding or wear gloves as an extra safety precaution.