Mar 27, 2023 - News

Spin scooters land in Richmond, including south of the James

Spin launched in Richmond this month. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Spin, a San Francisco-based electric scooter company, launched in Richmond earlier this month, making it the third on-demand scooter rental now available in town.

  • Spin joins Bird and Lime e-scooters in Richmond.

Why it matters: Spin's bright orange rides can be found all over the city — including in frequently-neglected South Richmond — and enter the market amid changes to the city's e-scooter policy.

What's happening: City Council voted last month to update the policy for the first time since the program launched two years ago, the Times-Dispatch reported.

  • Scooter companies operating in Richmond must now put 20% of their fleet in South Richmond. Each operator can continue to have 500 scooters.
  • The update also expanded scooters' operational hours from 5am to 1am. The previous curfew was 9pm.

Concerns over lack of access in South Richmond prompted the change, Dironna Clarke, the city's director of equitable transit and mobility, told WRIC.

Zoom in: More than a third of city residents live south of the James River, but an Axios review of the existing e-scooter operators shows Lime and Bird each have fewer than two dozen scooters available in South Richmond, generally concentrated in Manchester.

Meanwhile, Spin appears to have nearly 100 scooters peppering all parts of South Richmond.

The deployment in South Richmond was intentional because equitable access is part of the company's mission, Matias Longo, Spin's northeast GM, tells Axios

  • "We know the city is working to offer transportation alternatives in regions where public transit options are lacking. This goes hand-in-hand with our equitable deployment targets, which ensure our e-scooters are available in every neighborhood for reliable and convenient access," Longo said.

Of note: The city's bike-share program was also slow to launch south of the James. The first station opened in Richmond in 2017, but South Richmond didn't get a station until last summer.

  • Today, there are three, with two more in the works, per RVA Bike Share. One is in Forest Hill Park, and the other is at Westover Hills Library.

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