FORT WAYNE - A Chicago-based shared mobility company is testing e-scooters and pedal bikes in Fort Wayne. VeoRide has been issued a permit to begin a 16-month pilot program in the city's downtown, beginning with dozens of e-scooters over the next month.

The pilot program will not exceed 300 scooters and 150 pedal bikes in a designated area. 

The scooters and pedal bikes can only be operated through the VeoRide app, with customers needing to be 18 years old with a required credit card on file. The cost to unlock the e-scooter is $1, with a $.15 charge per minute. Pedal bikes are also a $1 to unlock, but only cost $.05 per minute to ride. 

“We are thrilled to be working with the City of Fort Wayne to provide its residents with a sustainable transportation alternative,” said Ben Thomas, VeoRide Midwest manager. “We hope this pilot project helps reduce car emissions and time wasted in traffic, while also providing areas of the city that need more first and last mile commuting options with a quicker, easier and more fun way to get where they need to be.”

The e-scooters will only be allowed to be ridden and parked in certain areas, with geo-fencing technology used to continue charging a rider who parks outside the designated area. A map of the boundaries can be found here. The Fort Wayne Community Development Division is developing a committee of bike advocates, police officers and public works staff to study best practices and to learn from other cities with pilot programs. 

“Our goals for the pilot program are to increase transportation options for residents; promote travel to local landmarks, restaurants and shops; encourage physical activity; provide options for visitors and tourists to explore our city; improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion; and connect neighborhoods,” said Dan Baisden, City of Fort Wayne planner.

Under current city ordinance, both vehicles will be allowed on city sidewalks. The company has a local support team to respond to any problems or concerns.