Huntsville’s newest public transportation method has people talking. Spotted at various parking places around town, GOAT electric scooters are the first of their kind in the area.
As of now, the scooters are part of a temporary pilot program through the City of Huntsville to test how they fit into the community. For six months, GOAT riders must adhere to certain regulations outlined by the city. Director of Development Services Kevin Byal explained a few of the regulations.
“The pilot program only authorized 100 units to be deployed,” Byal said. “They’re only allowed on streets where the maximum speed limit is 35 miles an hour. They can only be operated a half hour before and a half hour after sunrise.”
The scooters can be accessed through the GOAT rental app. They cost $1 to unlock and 20 cents per minute to ride. The scooters and riders must follow additional regulations including parking them in designated spots. On the app, the rider must agree to the GOAT terms of agreement.
As outlined in the agreement, the rider must wear a helmet, be at least 18 years old with a valid driver’s license, lock the scooter at the conclusion of the ride, observe all local rules and regulations and not use the scooter while under the influence.
Local husband and wife team Brad and Amy Warner had the idea to bring a GOAT fleet to Huntsville.
“The idea was to concentrate around the college as far as the apartment complexes, the dorms, give a chance for the students to get back and forth, especially from the apartments to the university without having to deal with the parking situation up there,” Brad Warner said. “Also, it gives students a relatively inexpensive way to get out and about the city.”
Every night at sundown, Warner personally removes all scooters from their parking locations and puts them back out by 7 a.m. the following day.
The scooters are docked in various locations throughout town, and can be accessed by anyone through the app.
“It’s all about the location and accessibility for the students,” Warner said. “We would love to purchase more and make more available for the students, but we need to get through this pilot program and make sure everybody’s safe and going by the rules.”
According to Warner, the GOAT riders have adhered to the guidelines better than he anticipated.
“So far, the students and citizens of Huntsville have been very respectful of the guidelines in the pilot program,” he said. “Everybody’s really doing good, beyond what I would expect. They’re parking them where they’re supposed to, they’re standing them up. We haven’t had any calls from UPD or the City of Huntsville Police Department. I’ve been in contact with both of them, keeping them informed of how things are going for us and asking if they have any concerns.”
As shown by the signs around SHSU grounds, the scooters are not allowed on campus. The Houstonian is waiting on a response from a campus spokesperson and will update with information as to why they are not allowed on campus in our next issue.