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Rochester welcomes new form of transportation to town

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) – Downtown Rochester is getting a new form of transportation next month. “Lime” – the popular electric scooter rental – is making its way to the Med City.

City leaders approved a 16 week pilot program for the electric scooters, saying it’s an experiment worth trying.

Discussion with Lime started back in May and tonight city leaders decided in a 5 to 2 vote to join in with the other 110 cities world wide – including Paris – using Lime.

About 100 scooters will hit the streets Aug. 1 and then pulled Nov. 30., weather permitting.

Lime representatives, including General Manager Eric Kocaja, sit in on Rochester City Council meeting.“This could happen with or without this motion. People could bring in and place scooters without any permission in our community,” Rochester Mayor Kim Norton said. “This is at least allowing the city to have some control over what happens and have it as a true pilot where we do maintain a sense of control and learning.”

After the pilot is completed, city leaders will be looking at ridership date to determine if Lime is something they want in the Med City long term.

“Rochester is a great fit for Lime and for scooters in general. There’s heavy congestion in the roadways and a lack of parking availability,” Lime Twin Cities General Manager Eric Kocaja siad. “So we know that Mayo Clinic employees are walking long distance unless they are working there for ten years or they are waiting 20 minutes for shuttle cycle. So we can help move people around faster. we can move people from point a to point b and solve that first and last mile problem or help to solve that first and lastmile problem.

Safety was a main concern from those lobbying against the scooters, but Kocaja says the app follows Minnesota state law. The scooters do get up to 15 miles per hour but won’t be ridden on sidewalks.

“Safety is always a concern, and we really want to look for is making cites and streets safer for all motorized vehicles not just cars,” Kocaja said.

Lime plans to have scooter safety sessions for those eager to try them out on Aug. 1.

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Beret Leone

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