Gotcha Scooters Came Back. So the City Called the County Prosecutor.

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Gary Caldwell for ELi

Gotcha scooters came back to town, and parked in the designated spot outside of City Hall.

East Lansing’s City Hall still doesn’t seem to have much love for electric scooters.

Marking the latest round of tensions, when Gotcha deployed a spring crop of scooters here last week, City officials decided they should call the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office.

What did they find out?

The scooter operation’s employees do in fact count in the Department of Homeland Security’s book as “critical infrastructure employees.” Given that plus the fact that Gotcha paid thousands of dollars for a license with the City that doesn’t expire until June 30 of this year, the City admitted in a press release they can’t stop the rental devices from being made available to the public.

But the tone of the City’s release was decidedly negative, “urging riders who choose to use them to take necessary precautions to help protect themselves and others” from COVID-19 and warning that “they should only be used for travel that is in compliance with the governor’s executive orders.”

One more admonition: wash your hands before and after.

Asked for a comment on the City’s announcement, Gotcha tells ELi they’re trying to help out people who need alternative transportation for essential travel during the public health emergency.

Caroline Passe, Gotcha’s Director of Public Relations, told ELi, “There are advantages to using micro-mobility to travel short distances. Exposure to other passengers in confined spaces, such as a bus or a rideshare car, is limited on an e-scooter.”

She says the company is frequently and carefully disinfecting e-scooters and educating employees about good hygiene, and that “Gotcha recommends social distancing and encourages riders to use personal protective equipment, like face masks, while riding.”

One perennial challenge for the scooter companies is getting local governing bodies to cooperate across a region.

Says Passe, “Gotcha is working with Michigan State University and the City of Lansing to relaunch scooters [there] in the near future. Riders should park in designated parking hubs to avoid fees or charges.”

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