FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Much like a fast ride on a scooter, it seems that Veo’s time in Fort Wayne has come to a quick end. The company is being asked to remove scooters by September 4th.
The company started populating the streets of the Summit City with electric scooters in 2019, but now the city is severing its relationship with Veo. The reaction has been mixed among downtown businesses that have seen heavy scooter traffic during the company’s time in Fort Wayne.
“I’ve always talked about it like a two-edged sword, but unfortunately the one side is becoming more and more sharp and the other side is becoming more and more dull,” said Michael Galbraith, President & CEO of Downtown Fort Wayne. “The advantage is becoming less and less of having this scooter program.”
Galbraith told WANE 15 that he was hopeful that the scooters would push business downtown, but as time has gone on, to him it’s apparent that they have to go.
“This experiment and it was a temporary experiment with the city, has run its course,” Galbraith said. “This didn’t work as public transportation, for us, we saw it working more as a fast joy-ride,” Galbraith said.
However, some businesses will miss the service that Veo provides when it is no longer allowed to operate starting Sep. 4.
“They were very valuable for a lot of our staff to get to work, now they are going to have to find alternate methods,” said Peter Shuey, director of operations with Obicai restaurant group.
The group operates several restaurants including Proximo, The Hoppy Gnome, and BakerStreet Steakhouse.
While Shuey sees some of the reasons behind the change, ultimately he thinks that the residual business they brought in, and the young crowd that the scooters facilitated, were worth it.
“You can definitely look at it from both sides,” Shuey said. “Yeah it’ll help some of the clutter, but at the end of the day, it will probably hurt a little bit of the business than what we had to clean up.”
Just around the corner from The Hoppy Gnome, managers at 816 Pint & Slice will also miss the scooters.
“Definitely it will create less traffic,” said Zack Hinton, general manager at 816 Pint & Slice. “If you have issues with clutter, those are things that can be fixed with communication.”
Hinton didn’t project the scooters leaving to be a huge loss, but a small one nonetheless.
Hinton also said that he knows people who commute to work using scooters, and he would like to see the city invest in additional methods of public transportation to increase downtown business. Veo is trying to fight the decision made by the City of Fort Wayne.
They claim that they weren’t given a notice about the cancellation, and a page on their website, “Act now: Keep Scooters in Fort Wayne,” is encouraging residents to email Fort Wayne City Council or reach out to the City of Fort Wayne on social media. The page also notes why Veo thinks its services should remain in Fort Wayne.