Council adopts scooter / bicycle sharing ordinance


Birds scooters will fly, but not for free.

Abilene City Council on Thursday passed an ordinance that regulates scooter and bicycle sharing services, placing limits on where they can be operated and charging fees after the council revised its fee ordinance.

The city looked at ordinances elsewhere, including those drafted by the cities of Lubbock and Dallas, while developing its own, said city attorney Stanley Smith.

“It would be something that would allow the city to regulate a bike or scooter sharing business that has entered and wants to use the public right of way in their business,” he said, including where the scooters can. be “nested” or bicycles stored when not in use.

Michael Rice, deputy city manager, said he had been in contact with Bird Rides, a company that had already made a deal with the Christian University of Abilene to bring the brand of scooter to town last year.

Bird was the word

For a while, Bird scooters could be found around this campus, downtown, and often elsewhere.

Rice said he had been in contact with Bird’s representative, who said the company had no general concerns about the city’s ordinance.

Once its fee ordinance is revised, the city will charge an initial permit fee of $ 1,500 over two years, followed by a one-year extension of $ 750, which basically comes down to $ 750 per year, Rice said.

“We are not trying to pass an ordinance to prevent these companies from preventing these companies from having this transportation service,” said Councilor Weldon Hurt. “… We are just trying to give them a legal way to run the business, which a lot of our citizens have said they like.”

Mayor Anthony Williams said the development of the ordinance was aimed at creating a “business-friendly” environment.

Set limits

As drafted, the ordinance would allow departments operating appropriately in Abilene to do so within a mile radius of a higher education institution they have contracted with, as well as in the neighborhood. Abilene business center.

This zone is delimited by a map at the city secretariat.

“Bird chose the ACU campus as the location where they have a contract,” said Councilor Shane Price. “If any students (from Hardin-Simmons University) or (McMurry University) want this opportunity there, they can speak to the current leadership of their college campus and encourage a similar opportunity. “

Agreements could also be made with other institutions, said city manager Robert Hanna, including Texas Tech University and Cisco College.

It is currently required that those applying for permits have contact with a higher education institution, which could be changed in future revisions.

Prescription support and concerns

Jeff Salmon, executive director of Frontier Texas !, spoke in favor of the ordinance, saying it was “supportive of tourism and development,” adding that he had seen tourists post their approval of scooters on social networks.

Salmon said he too hoped the city would be “business friendly in enforcement.”

Frequent council attendee David Swart said he was in favor of amending the ordinance to allow companies to seek a contract only for CBD, in light of the promotion of the city center as a destination. – and perhaps the house of a future convention center hotel.

Bob Thomas asked who would be responsible in the event of accidental injury or death.

Smith said that “the user or the company or perhaps another third party” would be solely responsible.

Thomas said he was concerned about young people, in particular, accidentally injuring someone coming out of a business, especially a senior.

“These young people, who are not in the majority, have no property that could be covered by home insurance or something like that,” he said. “… A single trip to the hospital can ruin an elderly person financially.


Program helps Maricopa County residents repay auto-title loans

When Rakesha Hill’s car broke down, she didn’t have $700 to pay a mechanic. The mother of three from Mesa earns a modest salary working for a charity that helps homeless families.

So, in a pinch, Hill took out a car title loan.

“It was the only option I had at the time,” she said.

Hill, 39, discovered what many consumers do. The interest rate was so high that she had difficulty repaying the loan.

“I was already for a year paying ‘$100 a month,’ Hill said, ‘and nothing was going into the capital.’

Title loans are a common option

Consumers often turn to vehicle title loans when an unexpected emergency arises and they are low on cash.

Four in 10 Americans said they would struggle to cover a surprise $400 expense, according to a Federal Reserve study last year. A Bankrate.com poll it is estimated that about two in 10 adults have no emergency savings.

But interest rates on home loans can be huge, reaching 204% per year, according to the Consumer Federation of America and Southwest Center for Economic Integrity.

People can shell out two to three times the amount they borrowed and not come close to loan satisfaction. And if a borrower defaults, the lender can repossess the vehicle and charge additional fees.

The program gives a helping hand to borrowers

Hill felt stuck with her title loan.

“It’s like a cycle. You just pay them enough so they don’t harass you,” she said.

Then Hill heard about a program that might help.

The program, called lend a handallows qualified Maricopa County residents to borrow up to $4,000 from MariSol Federal Credit Union to pay off a title loan.

The annual interest rate on the new loan, at 15%, is well below that of most title loans. Participants can also receive debt counseling from a separate Phoenix-based nonprofit, Take Charge America, and set up a savings plan so they can get back to financial health.

The Arizona Community Foundation and the Phoenix Industrial Development Authority support the program.

Hill said Lend a Hand made it easy for her to get out of debt.

“(The loan) was so affordable that I was able to pay it off in six months,” Hill said. “If it hadn’t been for the program, I would still be paying off (the title loan) now or I would have had my car repossessed.”

Some unhappy with the program

Lend a Hand is not for everyone.

People with multiple title loans or who are extremely in debt are unlikely to be approved for the loan, said MariSol Federal Credit Union CEO Robin Romano.

“It’s a great tool for those in the early stages of being trapped,” she said. “The vast majority of people we have to turn away…they owe so much more than they can repay, it’s like putting a bandage on a gushing wound.”

But Romano urged everyone to apply.

“Take the first step and apply. It doesn’t hurt to go through the board, and it doesn’t hurt for us to take a look,” she said.

A participant said The Arizona Republic he was unhappy with the program.

An 80-year-old Phoenix charter school teacher took out a car title loan to pay for his wife’s breast cancer treatments.

After applying for the Lend a Hand program, he said he felt obligated to accept Take Charge America’s debt plan even though he was not approved for the MariSol Federal Credit Union loan.

The organizations said they would review their application materials and interactions with consumers to improve communication about the two separate programs.

How the program works

People who apply for Lend a Hand will first speak with a credit counselor from Take Charge America.

The Phoenix nonprofit can create a monthly budget based on the applicant’s debts and negotiate with creditors to reduce interest rates and monthly payments, waive late fees, shorten the repayment date, and stop debts. collection calls. Take Charge America then takes a small fee from the monthly payments.

Consumers are not required to agree to Take Charge America’s Debt Management Plan to receive the loan from MariSol Federal Credit Union.

FOLLOWING: When 401(k) loans make sense and don’t

Within a few days of submitting the Lend a Hand request, consumers should also hear from MariSol Federal Credit Union. The credit union may request more information to complete its review of the loan. Thereafter, he will inform the applicant if the loan has been approved.

If the loan is approved, the borrower must open an account with MariSol Federal Credit Union, start making payments on the new loan, and save a small amount of money each month.

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“Getting out of the vicious circle”

The Lend a Hand program aims to get participants out of the trap of an existing title loan, as well as help them avoid applying for one in the future, according to program advocates.

“Sometimes people think their only option is to go to Tio Rico or TitleMax,” Romano said. “Anytime we can help people see another way of doing something, that’s a good thing.”

When Hill recently faced another financial emergency, she didn’t go to a lender in title. Instead, she asked MariSol Federal Credit Union to help her out.

FOLLOWING: How to stay in control of your personal finances in a growing economy

Hill had given birth to a baby boy and had taken unpaid maternity leave.

She has continued to bank at the credit union since completing the Lend a Hand program. The credit union approved a loan at a lower rate than a title loan.

“MariSol is like family,” Hill said. If consumers are “looking for a place where they can save money and get out of the vicious cycle of title lending, I would recommend the program.”

How it works

If you have a car title loan, you may be eligible to pay it off by borrowing up to $4,000 at an annual interest rate of 15% from MariSol Federal Credit Union through the Lend a Hand program.

1. Upload an application and review the eligibility requirements at www.takechargeamerica.org/lendahand. Or download the app here in English or in Spanish.

2. Contact Take Charge America to schedule a free credit counseling session. A credit counselor will offer to help you budget and create an action plan to eliminate debt and save for the future.

  • By phone: 1-877-822-2410.
  • In person: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 20620 N. 19th Ave., Phoenix.

3. Submit your application and additional documentation to Take Charge America for review.

4. MariSol Federal Credit Union will review your application for loan eligibility.

  • If you are approved, the credit union will repay your title loan and work with you to set up monthly payments on the credit union loan. You will also be required to open a MariSol Federal Credit Union savings account with an initial deposit of $25 plus $10 per month to build up an emergency fund.

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Consumer journalist Rebekah L. Sanders investigates fraud and abuse issues involving corporations, healthcare facilities and government agencies. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @RebekahLSanders.

The most powerful Vespa scooter gets a 300cc engine


Vespa GTS300 is the most powerful scooter of the brand, equipped with a 300cc engine. It was launched in the European market, after its debut in 2018 EICMA.

During EICMA 2018, Piaggio introduced the Vespa GTS300 HPE (high performance engine), which is more powerful than the regular GTS300. It was finally launched on the European market.

Overall there are much more powerful scooters. For example, the Suzuki Burgman series has engines ranging from 125cc to 650cc. A 650cc scooter is generally intended for long touring capacities with more space than a bicycle.

The GTS300 HPE is the most powerful engine a Vespa has ever received. It uses a high-performance 278 cc single-cylinder engine, which delivers 23.8 hp at 8,250 rpm and 26 Nm of maximum torque at 5,250 rpm.

Also Read: Aprilia SR 150 Price in India, Top Speed, Mileage, Features and Specs

The HPE version gets a 12% increase in horsepower and 18% in torque figures. The regular GTS300 is capable of delivering 22 BHP and 22.2 Nm of maximum torque. Added figures are available due to new piston and cylinder head designs.

The engine is associated with a CVT transmission. For safety’s sake it gets traction control, front and rear disc brakes with dual channel ABS. These characteristics are standard equipment.

Onboard features include LED headlights, LED tail lights, Vespa MIA Bluetooth connectivity system, TFT color display, incoming call and message alert and USB charger.

Also read: Piaggio could soon launch electric 2-wheelers in India

For storage purposes, the HPE GTS300 has enough space to accommodate two half-mask helmets and a lockable glove box in the front. The seat is covered with non-slip fabric as a premium feature.

In terms of design, it’s the same old retro-styled Vespa. The iconic round headlights, round mirrors, old-fashioned scooter body and chrome elements are retained in this scooter.

Globally, the Vespa GTS300 HPE is available in 5 variants: GTS, GTS Touring, GTS Super, GTS SuperSport and GTS SuperTech.

Also read: Aprilia SR 150 ABS and Vespa 150 ABS start to reach dealers

As for the launch in India, it’s unlikely to debut here. A scooter of this capacity would not be well received in the budget and mileage driven market. In the near future, Vespa may consider bringing it to Indian shores.


Most powerful Vespa scooter launched


– 2019 GTS 300 introduced in Europe

– Is the most powerful Vespa

– Gets revised bodywork, new features

Piaggio launched the most powerful scooter ever designed by Vespa. The 2019 GTS 300 which was unveiled at EICMA 2018 has been introduced to the European market.

The 2019 edition of the GTS 300 is now powered by a new High Performance Engine (HPE). This single cylinder engine develops 23.8 hp and a maximum torque of 26 Nm. This engine is mated to a reworked CVT transmission.

Aesthetically, the GTS 300 benefits from an updated steel body. It sports a new LED headlight, as well as a new saddle covered with a non-slip fabric. The under-seat storage can hold up to two half helmets. This Italian scooter has been packed with cool features like the Bluetooth enabled instrument cluster and the bike finder app. The rider can use the app to locate the scooter in case it is parked in crowded parking lots. The TFT screen also displays typical driving data such as fuel consumption and speed. It is also equipped with a USB port for charging smartphones. Traction control system and ABS are standard on this scooter.

This scooter is available in five variants, the GTS, GTS Touring, GTS Super, GTS SuperSport and GTS SuperTech. Unfortunately, the GTS 300 won’t be coming to India anytime soon, as there is no market for such high capacity scooters.