No new permits for electric scooters, also known as dockless mobility devices, will be issued in the city of Atlanta in the near future.
“It is very important that we review and continually assess how best to regulate (electric scooters) in the city of Atlanta,” District 9 Atlanta City Councilman Dustin Hillis said in a news release. “Ensuring that we develop policy that keeps Atlanta residents and visitors safe is top priority. I look forward to working with Mayor (Keisha Lance) Bottoms, (Department of City Planning) Commissioner (Tim) Keane and my colleagues to re-craft our (e-scooter) program in a way that makes safety for all the number one priority.”
Hillis and District 1 Councilwoman Carla Smith co-sponsored legislation to repeal the department’s authority to issue e-scooter permits, and at its meeting Aug. 19 at City Hall, the council voted to approve the legislation.
“It’s also putting a hold on every new (permit application),” Smith said. “The mayor had already done an executive order (July 24 to temporarily stop new permits being issued), so we just codified her executive order.”
The vote comes after three individuals died since May while riding e-scooters in the city, and Bottoms Aug. 8 issued a separate executive order to ban scooter use between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m., since the three deaths occurred after dark.
Permit holders issued a permit before Aug. 19 will be allowed to continue operations under the original terms of its issuance until the permit expires (Legislative Reference No. 19-O-1429).
Smith said she doesn’t know how long the temporary measure will last, but it could take weeks or longer. She added the city will host a town hall meeting on e-scooters Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall to get the public’s input on the issue.
“We (council members) are listening because we’re trying to figure this out. It’s not just us,” Smith said, referring to news reports on other cities in metro Atlanta and around the world dealing with the e-scooter issue. “… We’re all trying to figure out what’s going on. So we’re taking the correct approach in that we’re going to listen.
"I learned a long time ago that if you go to any public meetings, you will hear something that is solution driven and you may add to it, and somebody else may say something. Just getting together and communicating, we may find the magic bullet. I know the mayor is working on doing some temporary bike lanes (that will also allow e-scooters). That’s where were going to have to head with our infrastructure.”