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Electric scooter program a good test for Topeka. Let’s make sure we’re considerate of others in the process.



TOPEKA, Kan. – We should be excited that Topeka is participating in a pilot program testing out electric scooters.

Other cities have done the same and found that the scooters, which are accessed through an app on your phone, help folks make the last section of their trip. Let’s say a bus route only takes someone to within a mile from their destination. If a scooter is available, it can be rented and used for a bit more convenience.

This is the future of transportation. All of us know that individual cars and trucks can be harmful to the environment, and they can be risky to both drivers and pedestrians in urban settings. That’s why so many cities have invested in public transit over the years, and why we’re still looking for innovative ways to move people around.

But let’s be neighborly with this future.

Some 300 scooters are part of the program, which began this month. That’s a fair number of scooters, and Topeka isn’t as large as some cities with similar programs. We don’t want to see these scooters abandoned on a sidewalk where someone could trip over them. Make sure you check on the mobile app where they should be left, and follow those instructions.

Or as The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Blaise Mesa put it earlier this month as he tested out the service: “I did make one crucial mistake with my scooter. Once you are done with your ride, you click the ‘end ride’ button. Scooters must be parked on a hard surface near a bike rack, bus stop or an area that doesn’t block the sidewalk.

“I clicked that button nowhere near a suitable place to park the scooter. These scooters are hard to move once your ride is officially done, and they begin making a chirping sound. That sound probably indicates you are doing something wrong. Sorry, Bird scooters.”

If you haven’t tried out the scooters yet, you’re in luck. The pilot program will continue through Oct. 2, 2022. You’ll have plenty of time to figure out where to find them and how they work.

You’ll also want to note the service does cost a small amount of money. You will be charged through the mobile app for the amount of time you use the scooter. While it would certainly be nice to have a free transport option, fees make a program like this possible.

So try out a scooter. But be courteous, especially to those sharing the sidewalk with you. And let’s imagine the future of transit together.