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Could E-Scooters Revolutionize Transport in Philadelphia?


( 19, 2019)--In a growing number of US cities, including Washington DC, Baltimore, and Los Angeles, electric scooters or e-scooters are becoming an increasingly common sight. These small and energy-efficient vehicles are perfect for personal transportation through cities and other urban environments. They are the perfect personal vehicle for these environmentally conscious times.

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Philadelphia is one of the last of the big US cities to allow e-scooter rentals and this has represented a notable absence on the list of cities that support these vehicles. However, that might be about to change very soon, now that the City Council has given its approval to a scheme that would provide e-scooters for rental to residents of Philadelphia.

House Bill 631

However, the plan still needs the approval of the state legislature before the scheme can go ahead. These vehicles are lightweight, weighing in at less than 100 lbs, and their speed tops out at about 20 miles per hour, making them ideally suited for navigating tight urban environments.

Both Philadelphia and New York are yet to introduce e-scooters to their streets, which seems odd for two cities of their size known for their technological innovation. Hopefully, both of these cities will soon be introducing e-scooters to their streets. Proposed legislation currently working its way through the Pennsylvania state, house bill 631, will create a new definition of what an “electric low-speed scooter” is from a legal perspective. These vehicles will then be considered in the same class as electric bikes.

Current Status

The bill is currently with the house transportation committee, who are yet to schedule the required public hearing for the bill. You can read more about the legislation here, as well as what local businesses think about the current and proposed situations.

There are lots of reasons that people are eager to see e-scooters appear on the streets of Philadelphia. For many people, the motivation is mostly or entirely to do with climate concerns and the positive impact that these vehicles can have on the city’s carbon footprint. In other cases, people are drawn towards the affordability and availability of the vehicles. They are much easier to afford than many of the other options that are open to young people in Philadelphia.


One of the major e-scooter rental companies that are hoping to get a foothold in the Philadelphia market is Lime. Lime enables users to find nearby scooters using a simple to use a smartphone app. They can use the app to scan a barcode located on the bike and are then able to ride the bike, with the app processing payments.

The e-scooters can be rented for as little as $1 and charge 15 cents for every minute that the rider uses them. This can be a lot cheaper than the public transport options that Philly residents can use.

Hopefully, we will soon be seeing these vehicles on Philadelphia’s streets. It is also hoped that they will take into account Philadelphia's famous potholes, possibly by adding additional shock absorption and larger wheels.