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Miami Faces A New Challenge As Hurricane Dorian Approaches: Dockless Electric Scooters

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Hurricane Dorian is hurtling toward Florida and is expected to make landfall early next week, and as so often the case with these major storms, residents and city officials are busy preparing for the worst.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Already, stores are running out of water, canned foods and gas. Today Florida Governor Ron DeSantis underscored the need to be ready.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RON DESANTIS: The one thing that's been pretty certain is that this thing's been getting stronger very consistently and completely in line with all the forecasting.

CHANG: Miami officials are scrambling to get ready.

MANOLO REYES: We have been cleaning the drains. We have been collecting any debris or garbage that is on the street. We have our police and fire ready. And we have ordered ice and water (ph). They are coming from upstate.

CORNISH: That's Miami City Commissioner Manolo Reyes. He says this year there is an additional step the city needs to take to protect its residents.

REYES: This is the first time that we have to deal with scooters when a hurricane comes to South Florida because the scooters are a pilot program in the city of Miami.

CHANG: Reyes is talking about those dockless electric scooters. You've no doubt seen them in your city. They're often abandoned on sidewalks, always in the way. Well, during a hurricane, those scooters are much more than an eyesore and an irritation.

REYES: They could be missiles that can hurt people or break windows.

CORNISH: The city of Miami has to get them off the streets before the hurricane hits.

REYES: We ordered all the companies to pick up all the scooters because, as you well know, they are always littering and left on the sidewalks.

CORNISH: Those companies include Bird, Bold, Uber, Lime, Lyft and Spin.

REYES: All six companies has responded that they are picking them up, and they are taking them to their warehouse.

CHANG: Reyes says he expects all of the scooters to be picked up and returned to the warehouses by the end of today.

CORNISH: Forecasters are predicting that Hurricane Dorian could reach the Florida coast by late Monday or early Tuesday as a Category 4 storm.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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