Another e-scooter provider is poised to plop down a couple hundred two-wheelers in Atlanta at a precarious time for the e-scooter biz.
In July, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms enacted a moratorium on dockless mobility device permitting in the wake of a spate of e-scooter-related fatalities.
But Texas-based Boaz Bikes had filed its paperwork and was licensed to bring 200 vehicles to the city in June, prior to the crackdown.
The operator’s bright blue e-scooters are expected to make their local debut on Wednesday, founder Emil Nnani tells Curbed Atlanta.
Boaz Bikes’s model resembles that of major e-scooter companies, such as Bird and Lime, but the new rides feature seats—like Wheels e-scooters—beefy tires, and cargo baskets in the back.
Plus, expect turn signals on the scooters, Nnani says.
He predicts the 200-vehicle launch will be just the beginning for Boaz Bikes, and that the company would “scale up as demand increases” in Atlanta and other major cities.
Of course, with Atlanta officials aiming to rewrite e-scooter legislation in coming months—a reformed permitting system is expected in early 2020—one might wonder if Boaz Bikes is long for the city.
Some observers and industry professionals have suggested Atlanta should limit the amount of e-scooter operators that can offer vehicles in town, meaning smaller businesses might be in jeopardy.
But Nnani, whose company is running in Detroit and Plano, Texas, isn’t too concerned.
“Some of the bigger companies have put a bad taste out,” he says. “Cities that we work with love us because we work with the city to get the job done. Our focus is on healthy relationships and not flooding the market and see what happens.”
Nnani says he’s excited to enter Atlanta’s arguably saturated market: “I think Atlanta is awesome for giving us the chance to compete against the bigger guys—to prove that we can run our operations just as good, if not better, than our competitors.”
There are now roughly 12,000 dockless vehicles permitted in Atlanta, although it’s unclear how many are actually on the streets. (Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore has said she suspects there could be more e-scooters than are permitted.)
Dockless vehicle companies Bird, Jump, Lime, and Lyft are each permitted for 2,000 vehicles—10 times the number Boaz Bikes has proposed.
In reaction to the recent e-scooter fatalities, the City of Atlanta has crafted a $5 million “Action Plan for Safer Streets,” an initiative that aims to triple the city’s protected bike lane network and improve alternative transportation infrastructure for more than 20 miles of intown roads.
The city’s first “pop-up bike lane” is slated to be installed near Piedmont Park this weekend.