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Is the city creating a monopoly with its proposed scooter and bike-sharing regulations?




A still of three Bird scooters.
A still of three Bird scooters.
Bird scooters.

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Los Angeles officials have started debating how to regulate the influx of scooter and bike-sharing companies that have popped up throughout the city, garnering praise for solving the “last mile” problem, as well as annoyance and safety concerns from residents.

On Wednesday, the Transportation Department floated some regulations as part of a one-year pilot test of new rules. The rules would limit each company from having more than 2,500 bikes or scooters in the city, it would set parameters around where the scooters can be parked (outer edge of a sidewalk, locked onto an object like a parking meter) and, most controversially, would ban these bike start-ups from operating with three miles of a Metro bike-sharing station, existing or planned. It would also ban scooters from downtown and the three-mile radius which surrounds it.

This would take prime business opportunities off the table for these companies, some of which are saying that the city is trying to monopolize and privilege its own services.

Should the city regulate these scooter and bike-sharing start-ups? Which regulations would you like to see? And would the current proposal unfairly advantage the city’s bike-sharing program?

Guests:

Meghan McCarty Carino, KPCC reporter covering commuting and mobility issues

David Estrada, chief legal officer and head of government relations at Bird, the Venice-based e-scooter company

Ryan Rzepecki, CEO of Jump Bikes, an electric bike-sharing company owned by Uber