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E-scooters roll into 2 new Utah cities

FILE - Mark Rodgers rides a Bird electric scooter in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 28, 2018.
FILE - Mark Rodgers rides a Bird electric scooter in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 28, 2018.

SANDY — E-scooters continue to grow their footprint in Utah with one vendor launching service in two new Utah cities this week.

The rentable, electric-powered two-wheelers are being offered by a variety of vendors in a handful of communities in the state and one of those providers, Lime, kicked-off service in Sandy Monday with another debut event planned for Draper on Tuesday.

Sandy Mayor Kurt Bradburn said the new e-scooters, that users can locate and rent via a smartphone app, are a perfect alternative transportation option for the city's 1,100-acre city center improvement district.

“We are really excited to partner with Lime to bring e-scooters to the Cairns District,” Bradburn said in a statement. “The vision for this district has always included alternate forms of transportation in order to move people around the area. The Cairns District has become a destination location with Rio Tinto Stadium, the Hale Center Theatre, Mountain America Expo Center and the Shops at South Towne to name a few.

"The addition of e-scooters will allow for more people who are visiting the Cairns District to leave their cars at home and take advantage of the TRAX system. Having access to this alternate form of transportation will also allow for residents in the district to access amenities that would ordinarily require a car,” Bradburn said.

E-scooters made their first appearance in Utah early last summer when Bird arrived, unannounced and unpermitted, on the streets of downtown Salt Lake City. The company has since entered into an operating agreement with the city and has been joined by fellow vendors Lime and Spin. The three companies collectively deploy about 1,500 scooters around the capital city each day when the weather is copacetic.

Lime's Utah operations manager Mackenzie Viau said the zippy two-wheelers, that top out at round 15 mph, have become a viable transport alternative for running errands, getting to work and connecting with public transit hubs.

"Sandy is such a visionary and innovative city, we thought it was critical to partner and provide increased first/last mile mobility for shoppers, soccer fans and everyday commuters," Viau said in a statement. "Residents and visitors alike will now be able to easily get to Sandy-area destinations from local TRAX stations and the South Jordan FrontRunner station. Nationwide rider surveys show these are popular choices.

"On users' last scooter trip, shopping and entertainment comprised 40 percent of trips, commuting 30 percent and 20 percent of trips involved using a scooter to connect to public transit."

A company spokesman said Lime is planning on initial deployments of 75 scooters at each of its new Utah operations but the numbers can be adjusted upward depending upon demand.