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City suspends scooter licensing in SXSW run-up

Is Austin oversaturated?

Lime scooters

With more than 17,000 dockless vehicles authorized to operate in parts of Austin, the city has suspended licensing for the rentable bikes and electric scooters, KUT reported Thursday.

The Austin Transportation Department intends to examine the viability of the dockless vehicles already on the street, looking at such factors as convenience and safety, city officials said. It will also look at the problem of the parked vehicles blocking sidewalks, rights of way, and other public access areas—an often-cited issue for critics and proponents alike—as well as at the optimum number of vehicles for individual companies to operate.

Austin B-cycle executive director Elliott McFadden told KUT that he thinks “the city is responding to ... an oversaturation in the market right now” and that it’s likely the city wants to “limit the amount of chaos” during South by Southwest, which starts March 8 this year.

The move comes on the heels of the news that Austin B-Cycle has partnered with company Ojo to bring 100 sit-down, Vespa-style scooters to the city.

City officials have not commented on when the license ban might be lifted.

Austin Stops Issuing New Licenses For Dockless Scooters And Bikes While It Conducts Review [KUT]