The Tucson City Council approved a six-month extension to the city's e-scooter pilot program after a 6-1 vote at last night's study session. The program, which started last September and was scheduled to end next week on March 12, will be extended through September 12.
"I would like to consider a motion that we expand the pilot program and continue getting data," Mayor Regina Romero said during last night's study session. "Correct the behavior of users, make it safer and much more accessible in other areas of the city."
Ward 6 Councilman Steve Kozachik was the council's lone vote to end the program stating, "I'm 100 percent opposed to continuing this pilot program."
The majority of e-scooter trips happen in his area. Nearly 80 percent of rides take place in central Tucson's Ward 6. Kozachik cites issues ranging from safety to being cost effective for the city in the long run.
"We've generated $74,000 from (the program) and $16,000 of that has gone into painting stickers on Fourth Avenue sidewalks," Kozachik said before the mayor's motion. "You can build...what...a quarter-mile of a protected bike lane with the kind of revenue we're bringing in with this thing?"
Ward 4 Councilwoman Nikki Lee said she was "very sensitive to Steve's situation," considering Ward 6 has the majority of the program's e-scooters and sees most of the issues. Lee said Ward 4 was open to taking on more e-scooters if it would help Tucsonans get to transit stops. Only 59 e-scooter trips were taken in Ward 4 during the first six months of the program, according to the city's e-scooter evaluation report.
"If there are opportunity zones that are identified, our office would really appreciate being involved," Lee said. "I just wanted to point out, Steve, that I'm very compassionate to your situation."
After Lee's comments, Kozachik offered a substitute motion to end the program before the vote took place. He was unable to get a second on the motion.
Check out our analysis of the city's e-scooter report here