New scooter company bolts onto the streets of Memphis

Bolt e-scooters hit Memphis streets

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis streets are getting more crowded with scooters. Over the last year, Bird, Lime, Spin, and now, Bolt have launched scooters in the Bluff City. Plus there’s the bike share Explore.

For Bolt leaders, who joined the Memphis electronic scooter craze Friday, the competition is light in the Bluff City.

“We do compete,” Bolt Mobility Director of Operations Andy Shenkman said. “There are cities like Chicago and LA where there are a multitude of companies, upward of 10.”

The Bolt Chariot scooter features a place for your bag, phone charging dock and a cup holder.

“There's a demand to bridge the gap of the scooters you see around and the convenience you get while riding in a vehicle,” Shenkman said. “Whether it be storage for your bags, a place to put your drink or a way to charge your phone.”

The introduction of Bolt to the market is a big step for Memphis’ shared mobility program. The city said after a pilot program over the last year it had plans to add five companies total.

Bolt is that fifth company.

Over the last year, the city has been putting regulations in place for the bikes and scooters. Riders are supposed to be in the street or bike lanes not on the sidewalks. Helmets are encouraged and mandatory for any riders under 16 years old.

The state has been paying attention to the shared mobility popularity too. In July, it became illegal to be on a scooter while drunk-- the law lists penalties similar to a DUI. Memphis police said biking or riding a scooter under the influence will land you in jail.

WMC Action News 5 filed an open records request with the city seeking numbers for how many people have been arrested riding scooters while drunk since the law went into effect. We're still waiting for those records.

As for the latest scooter on Memphis streets, most people will pay with Bolt through an app. It also has features to pay with cash and discounted rates for those who qualify. It’s free to unlock, then 50 cents a minute.

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