The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) plans to obtain new electric scooters and bicycles for transit patrons commuting to and from park-and-ride lots. As part of a new program to decrease transit lot maintenance costs and lot crowding, the MTA will offer 20 to 25 new electric vehicles to transit riders for a discounted rate per month.
“It’s a lot easier to subsidize a bicycle or a scooter and try to get that technology moving forward than to provide and maintain a $10,000 to $20,000 parking space,” said Walt Davis, the transportation project manager in the planning department of MTA.
The MTA will secure $380,000 for the program, which will initially be open to a select few passengers during its development stages.
Currently, the MTA has not developed a screening process to determine which transit patrons are eligible for the program, but Davis anticipates extending the offer to passengers being charged for parking. “We thought we could approach those passengers and say, ‘Instead of paying $20 a month to park, what if you paid $20 a month for the first year of renting this scooter? At the end of the year you could keep it, but you’d have to use the scooter for commute purposes to the park-and-ride lot,’” said Davis.
Davis hopes to begin the program this summer, with users participating in a survey about the benefits and drawbacks of the program. “It’s probably going to be a controlled environment to begin with because we want people we can talk to every other day,” he said.
Some groups, particularly those who suggest that walking to and from lots would be more beneficial for people, have met the project with resistance. Davis said the MTA does promote walking, but it understands some people just refuse to do it. “We’re a big advocate of bicycling and walking, but there are just some people who absolutely won’t walk and won’t take a bike,” he said. “We’re trying to meet that market as well.”