Seated e-scooter pilot program begins in Fayetteville

A fleet of Veo Cosmo scooters stands outside Ozark Natural Foods at College Avenue and Lafayette Street on Thursday.

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

FAYETTEVILLE — A pilot program to help test a new seated electric scooter is underway in the city.

Vehicle-sharing company Veo has begun rolling out its new Cosmo scooters around town as part of a phased plan to replace its Astro stand-up scooters.

The new seated scooter is similar to the stand-up scooters which have operated in town and on the University of Arkansas campus for the last two years, but the new model allows riders to sit on a cushioned seat much like a gas-powered scooter or moped.

The idea is to make scooter riding more accessible by providing a comfortable ride for those who prefer the added stability of a seat and lower center of gravity, or for those who simple are not able to stand and ride for long periods of time.

The first phase of the roll-out includes deployment of 50 Cosmo scooters in Fayetteville, including 15-20 on the University of Arkansas campus. Another 50 scooters are set to be released in late April or early May, depending on demand.

“Safety is the most important factor when considering introducing a new mobility option like this,” said Dane Eifling, the city’s mobility coordinator. “The sit-down e-scooter seems much more stable for the rider, and it does not go any faster than the standing models.”

The seated scooters feature a 500-watt motor with front-fork suspension, and include 18-inch wheels, front and back LED lights and glow-in-the-dark paint for increased visibility at night. The scooters have a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour and a range of up to 55 miles per charge, according to Veo.

Last year, Veo reported more than 200,000 rides on its scooters in Fayetteville.

Both types of scooters cost $1 to unlock and 25 cents per minute to ride. Discounted rides are available for low-income residents.