Scooter companies Bird and Lime to leave Raleigh, citing government regulations, fees

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Thursday, March 28, 2019
Scooter companies to leave Raleigh; blame imposed regulations
Scooter companies to leave Raleigh; blame imposed regulations

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Two major electronic scooter companies are leaving Raleigh.

According to our newsgathering partners at the News & Observer, Bird and Lime are leaving town because of government regulation and increased fees imposed by Raleigh City Council.

"Despite our efforts to partner in good faith, the city has decided to impose some of the most onerous regulations in the country and unfortunately we cannot continue to operate under such restrictive rules," Lime spokesperson Todd O'Boyle said in a statement to ABC11. "We will continue our conversations with City Council and make a decision about the future of Lime in Raleigh after we consider our options."

"Bird has come to know and love the people of Raleigh who supported shared e-scooters and embraced our environmentally friendly option as a way to not only get around, but to enjoy, town. Even when the City Council's high fees forced us to raise fares, we were encouraged by the loyalty of a growing community of residents who want to see Raleigh be an innovative leader on transportation, economic development and climate policy," Bird spokesperson Sam Reed said in a statement. "Unfortunately, Raleigh city officials refuse to amend their burdensome regulations on e-scooter providers, and it no longer makes sense for us to provide our service under the city's restrictive leadership. Our time in Raleigh must come to a close but we hope to return in the future when city officials are ready to be more amenable to our business and industry as well as the needs of their constituents."

The City of Raleigh confirmed to ABC11 that neither Bird nor Lime submitted proposals by the March 26 deadline. Five other companies -- Bolt, Gotcha, Lyft, Spin and VeoRide -- did submit proposals.

The electric scooter companies made their debut in Raleigh during the summer of 2018. Months later, City Council created regulations and fees specifically for rent-able electric scooters.

In January, Bird announced that it was adding a $2 charge to Raleigh rentals, blaming the city for enforcing a $300 per scooter fee.

City council members said the $300 fee was to offset the cost of enforcing laws surrounding scooters, so the police department isn't on the hook for those costs.

Bird and Lime have rolled out periodically to various cities across the country over the last few years--with mixed success that has included some local governments praising the companies and others passing stifling regulations targeting them.