One of the top U.S. market for electric scooter rentals is about to push the pause button. Mayor David Briley of Nashville said Friday the city would end its scooter pilot program that had allowed seven scooter firms—including Lime, Bird, Lyft and Uber-owned Jump—operating more than 4,000 vehicles to hit the streets. The city council will now craft new rules that dramatically cut back on number of companies and vehicles can operate, following a rash of complaints and one scooter rider’s death. The move is notable because Nashville is one of the most lucrative markets for scooter firms in the U.S., with relatively permissive laws and relatively high utilization rates, according to industry watchers. (The best markets globally are mostly in Europe, Israel and Australia.)
There’s still a wide range of stances that cities are taking toward regulation. The long-term trend seems to be that cities are tightening rules, including the number of companies that can operate. Both sides have reason for frustration. Cities, concerned about legal liabilities and constituent complaints, see scooter companies taking short cuts regarding safety and hardware quality. Scooter firms, meanwhile, tapped into people’s needs to get around cities in new ways, but face governments that move slowly to build bike lanes and other new infrastructure.