Forsberg and Irvine

A short followup on our Friday article about a young couple who wants to introduce electric scooter rentals to Lakeland, focused on downtown, Florida Southern College and routes between the two:

The couple, Jed Irvine and Latisha Forsberg, came to Monday’s City Commission meeting to answer commissioners’ questions about Leaf, the business they started in Duluth, Minn., last summer and they’d like to move to Florida during winters.

Commissioners suggested they compile work with the city Traffic Operations Department to catalog best practices in cities where scooter rentals work well.

Irvine said they’d do that and listed a few of their practices, including designating specific places where the scooters must be returned and using GPS to regulate where the scooters can and can’t go.

In their initial letter to the city, Irvine and Forsberg held out hope that they could get a pilot program going in Florida before the weather in Minnesota warms up sufficiently to restart there.

After Monday’s meeting, they said they realize now that it will be hard to establish a program that quickly, so they’ll be heading back north soon to finish their final semesters at University of Minnesota Duluth.

They hope to establish a winter home for Leaf in Lakeland or a similar mid-size Florida city by next fall, and say they’ll more than triple their inventory of scooters to 150 by then.

Pricing will differ by market. In Duluth, customers pre-load funds onto the Leaf app (iOSAndroid) and pay $1 to unlock the scooter and 30 cents a minute to ride it.

If those rates were in effect in Lakeland, a 10-minute ride between the FSC campus and downtown would cost $4.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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