Bolt is first to officially plug into the city’s scooter market

Mayor Levar Stoney and Bolt’s Will Nicholas. (Photos by Mike Platania)

A flock of scooters has descended upon Richmond once again – but this time the city is happy about it.

Bolt Mobility, a South Florida-based electric scooter startup, launched Thursday in Richmond.

Bolt has 500 scooters operating throughout the city, and they can be rented through its app. Rentals cost 25 cents per minute plus a $5 security deposit.

Bolt’s scooters first hit the ground in Monroe Park.

At a kickoff event at Monroe Park, Mayor Levar Stoney said when his administration first proposed the scooter pilot program last year, he was excited about the possibilities such devices could bring to town.

“Escooters will help us fill the gaps in our transportation network,” Stoney said.

While ceremonially handing a city operating permit over to Will Nicholas, Bolt’s executive VP of operations, Stoney laughingly said, “Now you can operate legally in the city limits.” Scooters first arrived in Richmond last August when Bird put scooters in town unexpectedly, only for the city to impound them.

Bolt is the first scooter company to be granted a permit to operate in town, though more may be on the way. Lime and Joy Scooters also have plans to launch in Richmond.

Per its agreement with the city, Bolt will be keeping 175 of its 500-scooter fleet in low-income neighborhoods, Stoney said. He added that the startup also will be offering a program called Bolt Forward, where people can apply to have 50 percent off each ride.

A map of where Bolt will deploy clusters of scooters in town.

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Leo Melvin
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Leo Melvin

The business model for these scooter companies is ill-conceived and and unsustainable. None of the companies are as of yet turning a profit and as they grow the lawsuits will multiply. In addition to injured riders, every pedestrian who trips over a scooter on a public sidewalk will want to join in the legal fray. Eventually there will be law offices that handle only scooter injuries, if there are not already.

Ed Christina
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I am kind of surprised that they don’t include helmets with the scooter. Seems unsafe.