More than 23 million rides are provided annually by Iowa's transit systems. Public transit service is provided in every county in Iowa. Iowa transit systems rely on state and federal transit assistance to make rides available and affordable for Iowans. Local support such as tax revenue, fares, and donations provide a large share of agencies' operating budgets.

DART may seek proposals for e-scooters

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority may ask private vendors if they are interested in setting up a network of electric scooters in downtown Des Moines, and perhaps eventually in West Des Moines and Ankeny.

Amanda Wanke, DART’s chief external affairs officer, said the DART commission will be briefed on the status of talks about the e-scooters at its meeting today. No formal action is expected today.

Wanke said DART may consider issuing a request for qualifications from companies later to gauge interest.

Talks involve the Greater Des Moines Partnership, DART, the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Street Collective, businesses and the city of Des Moines. Many questions remain, including how to address complaints in other cities that the scooters are a safety problem and an eyesore, Wanke said.

It's likely suburban officials will be involved in the talks, and there would be a public input process if the proposal moves forward, she added.

"Safety is a top priority for us," Wanke said. "There is a lot of interest, but in other cities sometimes things didn’t go so well. We are going to look at Omaha and Kansas City" to gather information about their programs’ track record, she added. In some cities, vendors have had to hire workers to retrieve the scooters after they were dropped in a wide range of locations.

Some see the scooters as a way to build on Des Moines’ system of rental bicycles.