Competition in scooter business could heat up again in Tacoma

Another scooter company has its sights set on Tacoma.

Sun Scooter, which first launched in Southern California, would like to be the second scooter company provider in Tacoma, according to Kevin Ellyson, Sun Scooter CEO.

They’re not alone.

Representatives from the city’s Public Works Traffic Engineering Division told The News Tribune via email on Monday that “several scooter share companies” are interested in operating in Tacoma.

“Once the permanent program is in place, the City will reach out to those interested vendors,” the department said in response to questions from The News Tribune.

Just when that permanent program will be in place is unclear, but “the goal is to have a permanent bike and scooter share program in the fall,” according to Public Works.

As part of the evaluation period, the City has been considering code changes. The timing of those changes would likely coincide with the permanent bike and scooter share program or shortly thereafter,” the department said in a statement.

Tacoma allowed two scooter companies last year to launch pilot programs, Lime and Bird. Bird did not seek renewal of its Tacoma business earlier this year.

Ellyson told The News Tribune on Monday his company would be cost competitive with Lime.

Sun Scooter, if approved, would start with a fleet of 100 in the city. They would be free to unlock and cost between 15 to 30 cents a mile to operate, Ellyson said. Helmets would be available upon rental or available to order through its app.

“We have a great product to bring here,” he said. “Tacoma now only has one vendor, so we’re now just trying to build support.”

Ellyson, originally from the Tacoma area, moved to California a few years ago, and his company is based in Santa Monica, California.

Lime, for its part, expanded its fleet earlier this year to operate 500 scooters in Tacoma through the end of September. It’s also branched out with a new car-sharing service, LimePod, in Seattle.

As new manufacturers and scooter companies come on the scene, there also have been crackdowns, particularly overseas, by governments ramping up restrictions on the usage of e-scooters in cities.

Tacoma logged seven scooter injuries that involved an emergency vehicle response between January and June of this year, according to the Tacoma Fire Department.