Transportation department launches pilot program to clear up scooter congestion downtown

The Austin Transportation Department launched a new pilot program with the goal of clearing up scooter congestion on downtown Austin’s main drag.

As of late June, no more than 100 scooters per provider are allowed on Congress Avenue between Lady Bird Lake and the Capitol. Additionally, no more than five scooters are allowed on each block face.

"The devices are providing a valuable mobility service for Austinites and visitors, but their popularity also led to an unsustainable buildup of scooters in the area," said Jack Flagler, spokesperson for the Austin Transportation Department. "The pilot program aims to continue providing access to scooters while keeping sidewalks clear for pedestrians."

Data shared by the Austin Transportation Department shows between April and June 2022, more than one million scooter trips were taken downtown. On average, that's more than 11,000 per day. 

Ten percent of those trips passed through the segment of Congress Avenue between the Congress Avenue Bridge and Cesar Chavez Street.

"I will say there’s an issue with people knocking scooters over, and it kind of makes it look trashy around the city," said Devin Nisson, who rides scooters regularly throughout downtown for work. "I would definitely approve of the scooters but maybe not as much of them."

According to the Austin Transportation Department, scooter providers must rebalance their scooters each day at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. to make sure they are abiding by the set limits. ATD staff also monitor the area daily. Violations could lead to impoundment.

ATD also asks that when riders are done with their scooter they park in a parking box or micromobility corral.