• 64°

Blue Duck ‘impressed’ with scooter service after first week in Vicksburg

With the exception of some inclement weather last week, the first week of operation for Blue Duck scooters in Vicksburg went tremendously well, company officials said.

The pilot program, launched Sept. 19 by the San Antonio-based Blue Duck, provides “flocks” of electric scooters available for rent in downtown Vicksburg. And, if the first week is any indication — even with a few days hampered by rain — both the city and the company have a long future together.

“We’ve been very impressed with the number of trips taken thus far. We are excited about it,” Blue Duck’s Senior Director of Government Partnerships Megan McNamara said. “I think it is typical to have a peak in ridership initially, especially with the big launch we had and the promotion, but I will say this is kind of comparable to what we saw in Waco which we launched in July. Numbers based on the size of the city and the size of the fleet, we are really happy with.”

But the first week has also proved there is a need by some of those enjoying the paid scooter service downtown of the rules governing their operation.

Officers with the Vicksburg Police Department have had to remind those operating the scooters that the normal rules of the road apply and that the scooters are not to be operated on the sidewalks.

Between 35 and 50 scooters are put out each day and are available to rent 7-days a week between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. and are restricted to an operating service area of downtown Vicksburg.

Riders must be 18 years old or older and riders are “strongly encouraged to wear a helmet,” but are not required to do so. Also, the scooters must remain on roadways that have speed limits no more than 35 miles per hour and riders must follow all the rules for the road, including stopping at stop signs and not riding on the sidewalks. Also, riders must yield to pedestrians.

Beginning Wednesday, the city is installing signs in downtown reminding riders that riding the scooters on sidewalks is prohibited. Those caught doing so by authorities could face a fine up to $1,000.

“The first couple of weeks are always a learning curve, getting used to the program and adjusted to the rules of the road,” McNamara said. “The city has been wonderful in helping us educate people locally on what the rules of the road are, so it is our hope that we will continue to see more and more rides.”

Scooters will be available in the downtown area bounded by First East Street on the north, Monroe Street on the east, Madison and Depot streets on the south and Levee Street on the west.

People wanting to use a scooter can download an app to their cell phone to find one. The app gives the location of the scooter and tells the person how much power is remaining on its battery.

Using the app, the rider scans the scooter to unlock it and ride to their destination, where the scooter is parked.

Payment for use of the scooter can be made by a credit or debit card within the app. Money from the card is deposited into a “wallet” on the app and used to pay for the rides. The charge is an initial $1 fee and then 25 cents a minute.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

email author More by Tim