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Littleton e-scooter pilot program ends early with scooters 'missing' around town

An electric scooter company stopped collecting and charging its scooters in June, and Littleton is asking people to be on the lookout for the rides.

LITTLETON, Colo. — A pilot program to deploy electric scooters in downtown Littleton has ended early because the company providing the scooters stopped servicing them in June and left them abandoned around town.

The City of Littleton started the one-year pilot program last August with electric scooter company Bird with hopes that the scooters would help with parking concerns and congestion in areas like downtown.

Bird was allowed to deploy 125 scooters at a time, though it ended up deploying no more than 80. In mid-June, Bird's local fleet manager stopped collecting, charging and servicing the scooters. Many scooters with dead batteries became impossible to find remotely, the city said.

Littleton ended the program last month and is asking for residents' help in finding the missing scooters. Anyone who finds a scooter can email traffic@littletongov.org with the location so Bird can pick them up.

Littleton collected an initial $1,000 licensing fee from Bird that covered the cost of software used by the city to track the scooters, as well as 10 cents per ride to cover administrative costs, the city said.

Shane Roberts, the city's senior transportation planner, said the tracking software won't locate a scooter after it's been in the same spot for seven days. He said he knows of nine abandoned scooters, due to reports from city staff.

Bird will pick up the scooters before Aug. 18, which was when the pilot program was originally supposed to end. The company has the ability to locate its e-scooters, Roberts said, who added that the city was being proactive by asking for residents' help.

9NEWS has reached out to Bird for comment.

Data from a company called Ride Report, which includes ridership data for cities across the Denver metro area, showed daily trips in Littleton started to drop off after June 18. On that day, people took 100 trips on scooters in the city. By June 27, there were fewer than 50 trips.

Since last August, Littleton has logged 7,500 e-scooter trips total, at an average rate of 23 trips per day. The median time and distance of those trips was 6 minutes, going 0.74 miles, according to the data.

For comparison, Denver has logged 9.3 million trips, Boulder has 89,000 trips, and Aurora has 16,000 trips, the data show.

A City of Littleton survey found that 75% of respondents hadn't used an e-scooter and 65% opposed having the scooters in the city, while 20% supported the program.

According to Ride Report, Bird also operates in Arvada and Aurora.

Any future micromobility programs in Littleton are on hold until Arapahoe County finishes a countywide study on transit, the city said.

RELATED: Electric scooters are coming to Littleton

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