By Matthew Weinsheimer
For The Diamondback
The College Park City Council voted to extend its trial-run partnership with VeoRide through the end of October. The city is still considering a long-term contract with VeoRide, while some members of the city council and resdients have cited concerns.
VeoRide, the company that provides College Park with e-scooters and e-bikes, and the city have been in partnership since August 2019. The company currently provides the city with 150 e-bikes and e-scooters each, which people can use by scanning a QR code through the VeoRide app.
“I’ve been taking pictures for months now of scooters blocking handicap ramps, of scooters blocking sidewalks, scooters blocking the road, blocking the trails,” District 3 Councilman John Rigg said. “I got inches away from hitting one in the middle of the night because they are black and blocking the road. This just can’t happen.”
Riders are able to find and park e-bikes at any public bike racks. E-scooters can be parked at areas designated by the Veo app. VeoRide is responsible for ensuring that users are putting the e-bikes and scooters in appropriate places.
Aaron Springer, a resident of College Park, has noticed VeoRide vehicles left around the city for extensive periods of time.
“I saw bikes and scooters sitting in the same place in people’s yards, in the street and such,” Springer said. “We’ve called VeoRide and seen a bit of an adjustment, but perhaps not as much as we would like.”
VeoRide’s vehicles have a GPS system that allows the company to track the scooters and bikes. When vehicles are misplaced, the company is supposed to pick them up and return them to where they belong.
“My big problem is that they are just being left,” District 4 Councilwoman Maria Mackie said. “They are just left in places that make the city look unsightly, with bikes just thrown on lawns.”
While the future of the relationship between College Park and VeoRide is in question, access to micro-mobility vehicles remains important to the council.
“I’m gonna make it very clear that micro-mobility is an issue that has become a way of life around College Park,” District 3 Councilman Robert Day said. “We want to make sure that we’re doing it in a safe manner, that we’re working with our partners at the university to get it done the correct way, and that we are identifying someone that can meet the obligations that we have.”
The council is well aware that if VeoRide continues to provide services they view as subpar, there are other options. Mackie cited Capital Rideshare as a potential alternative, but said: “I would really like for VeoRide to get their act together.”
Day emphasized the importance of accessible transportation.
“I think this is something that is both a university and a city initiative, and we should try and work together to get it done,” Day said. “I really think we owe that to the people who use the system.”
The council is scheduled to vote on extending a three-year contract to VeoRide at the end of the month.