By Jessica Mathews /

The City of Howell is exploring bringing an electric scooter rental program to the downtown.

City staff is investigating ordinance changes or other means to implement such as a program. A ban on wheels remains in effect downtown, a measure implemented in 1999 in response to concerns raised by pedestrians about skateboarders, bicycles and skates.

A pilot program could eventually be launched with Ship@Bay and offer scooters available for rent. The company is owned by a former Livingston County resident.

The scooters operate using an online app. Geo-fencing is utilized to keep them in a specific area and control speed. The scooters are typically placed in areas that are convenient for users in close proximity to businesses and attractions. Everything is in the preliminary phase though.

Howell City Manager Erv Suida tells WHMI they met with the owner of the company twice and while they’re excited about the possibility, there are still a lot of details that need to be worked out. He says the City is in discussions with other communities that have scooters and are working to determine whether the project would involve an ordinance or if they could have a pilot program agreement in place that would expire at some point.

Some scooters had showed up downtown, which Suida said were put out without City or DDA knowledge and they had the company quickly pick them back up. Among some items to be future topics of discussion include the geo-fencing for non-permitted areas, storage, quantities, a public feedback forum and location.

Suida added that while the ability to bring in visitors to our downtown businesses without cars and taking up parking is intriguing, they “just aren’t there yet”.