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A casualty of the state budget stall: Spin scooters

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

Spin scooters in Pittsburgh will be on “indefinite pause,” starting Monday, July 10, city officials said. A two-year initiative authorized in 2021 by state legislators expired Sunday, and without new legislation, Spin cannot operate.

A bill to make electric scooters a permanent part of the Pennsylvania vehicle code was expected to pass with the state budget, but legislative technicalities have stalled the process.

The scooters will be taken off the streets, but the city “will continue to work with state legislators to reauthorize this critical mode of transportation,” city officials said in a news release issued Friday evening.

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Spin scooters first came to Pittsburgh in July 2021 as part of MovePGH, a two-year pilot project of the city Department of Mobility and Infrastructure. The project aimed to make it easier to get around by creating transit hubs, where people could access bikes, buses, ride-sharing, car rentals, and for the first time in Pennsylvania, electric scooters.

The scooters proved to be divisive, raising questions about safety, accessibility, and oversight. City officials, however, have defended their utility to provide travel options, whether because someone missed a bus and needed to get Downtown quickly, or within neighborhoods not well-served by transit.

The scooters “served a wide variety of trip types and populations,” the city said in its release Friday.

While MovePGH’s two-year pilot phase has come to an end, only Spin will be leaving the streets: all of the other modes in the pilot will continue to operate, city officials said. DOMI expects to release its evaluation of MovePGH this summer.