- Phoenix became the first U.S. city to install Spin's charging and parking stations for dockless scooters in the public right-of-way.
- The charging stations, known as Spin Hubs, are in two designated scooter corral areas near the sidewalk, which were chosen due to the high number of trips that end nearby. Powered by micromobility company Swiftmile, the charging stations will remain in the city until its dockless pilot program ends in September.
- In a statement, Kini Knudson, Phoenix’s Street Transportation Department Director, said the Spin Hubs would help with its pilot program goals to "minimize sidewalk clutter and accessibility issues." Spin is the only operator in Phoenix's pilot program after Lime and Bird both pulled out.
Sidewalk clutter caused by unused dockless bikes and scooters has been a major issue for cities since micromobility companies first descended on their streets. A number of companies are now intervening to try and remedy that problem.
The battle hasn't been easy. Disability Rights California filed a class action lawsuit against the City of San Diego and scooter companies Bird, Lime and Razor in January 2019, alleging dockless vehicles make sidewalks unsafe. In that same city, startup ScootScoop came under legal fire from Bird for allegedly removing scooters from public sidewalks instead of private property.
It has also prompted some creative efforts to solve the issue of clutter. Last year, a new startup Tortoise began experimenting with outfitting bikes and scooters with technology to help them move autonomously or through remote control, as a way to move them out of the public right-of-way.
Spin’s charging stations, which it has previously experimented with in Washington, DC and Ann Arbor, MI in pilot programs on private property, offer another way for cities and companies to work together in keeping sidewalks clear. Spin and Phoenix said they plan to install up to eight more of the Spin Hubs in the coming months across the dockless pilot area, which has a relatively small footprint downtown.
And they appear to have fans already. Phoenix City Councilmember Michael Nowakowski said in a statement the charging stations are "much needed," while Kundson said they are a "forward-thinking solution." Because the hubs are exlusive to Spin scooters, it may not be a wide-reaching solution if other operators return to the city, but it represents one effective way to curb issues of clutter.