City of Waco launches new scooter program downtown

Published: Oct. 23, 2023 at 1:48 PM CDT

WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The City of Waco is launching a new scooter mobility system in the downtown and East Waco areas to provide more transportation options for residents and visitors.

“This time around, we’re really focusing on the equity...make sure that the scooters are not just used for tourism and recreation, but we really want to encourage the use of the scooters to get people to the public transportation so that they can get to their places of employment,” Laura Wagstaff, who is the planning manager for the City of Waco, said.

The company, Superpedestrian, started parking scooters downtown Thursday, launching 250 seated and standing scooters in various locations in the downtown area.

Wagstaff said the city started the process of contracting a scooter company in the summer, and the city chose Superpedestrian in August.

“One of the things that was really impressive for us as the City of Waco is their flexibility and the communication with the City of Waco,” Wagstaff said. “Whenever there is a planned, large event, all we need to do as the City of Waco is reach out to Superpedestrian ahead of time and they will redistribute their scooters.”

To ride the scooter, you scan the QR code, download the app, create a profile, pay $1 to activate and 39 cents per minute you ride.

The boundary for riding stretches from around Herring Ave to La Salle Ave. and N. 26 St. to East Waco Dr. and New Dallas Hwy.

There are slow ride zones and no rides zones within the boundary. Baylor University’s campus is a ‘no ride zone,’ meaning the scooter will automatically slow down and stop in this area. The Suspension Bridge and Indian Spring Park are in ‘slow ride zones,’ meaning your scooter will automatically slow down. Cameron Park is a ‘no park zone.’

There are various parking hubs, but people are allowed to park their scooters near their desired locations.

If scooters fall or if people do not park them correctly, the company said their local employees will be notified where these scooters are. These employees will be able to adjust the scooter back to the correct position to prevent these scooters from becoming an eyesore.

In addition to providing a new form of transportation to people in Waco, Superpedestrian also hopes to bring more jobs.

“That’s really important to us because we always want to be a part of the community, and we want to be able to serve the community,” Jamie Perkins, Director of Communications for Superpedestrian, said.

The company chose to present to the city because of its positive features of the downtown environment.

“It’s not too big, so it’s easy to get around by a scooter,” she said. “You have this wonderful mix of residents who want to get downtown, students and so many visitors you welcome to Waco each year.”

Overall, the city hopes Superpedestrian will not only provide an affordable option for transportation for visitors but, especially, for residents.

“We’re really hoping to see more use for people to get to work, shopping, and not just as a tourism or fun thing,” Wagstaff said. “Keep that element in there. It’s a fun thing to do downtown, but it’d be great to have that as an opportunity for people to utilize the service to help them get to their job locations through the public transportation.”

There are also discounts for residents who need more affordable options.

“That’s a 70% discount for people with low incomes,” Perkins said. “It’s super easy to apply through the app. All you have to have is an existing enrollment in a city, state or federal government assistance program.”

Superpedestrian asks drivers to be cautious around those who are riding scooters in the bike lane or on streets in the area. Depending on the use, there could be up to 500 scooters in Waco.

The city had a previous contract with Blue Duck Scooters which expired in June. Wagstaff said the data shows that an average of about 100 to 150 people would use these scooters daily. However, the city chose to go with Superpedestrian for this contract because of more flexible options to meet the area’s needs.