Decatur city manager says unregulated rental scooters can be impounded
The city of Decatur has entered into an agreement with one local scooter rental company, Lime, but couldn’t come to a similar agreement with Bird.
After failing to reach an agreement, Bird decided to remove its scooters from the city limits, but hopes to return in the near future.
Several readers have asked what will happen if Bird scooters wind up in Decatur from trips initiated outside city limits.
City Manager Andrea Arnold said the city will have the ability to impound scooters deployed in the city by operators who haven’t agreed to the city’s terms.
“A scooter company can only operate in the city at this time with a signed operating agreement,” Arnold said. “If another company deploys scooters in the city without an agreement, we would reach out and work towards an executed agreement. If no agreement is reached, they would be asked to remove their scooters. If they fail to collect the scooters in the time frame allotted to them, the city could impound them.”
The City Commission recently began the process of regulating e-scooters despite protests that the regulations under consideration would drive the scooter companies out of Decatur.
Commissioners discussed the topic at length during their Dec. 17 meeting and authorized the city manager to negotiate agreements with these companies. The city is regulating where scooters can be parked, the number of scooters allowed by each company and assessing a fee for their operation in Decatur.
Arnold provided Decaturish a copy of the agreement the city singed with Lime.
Under the terms, Lime is required to pay the city $4,000 a year. The company is also subject to having its scooters impounded if it violates the terms of the agreement with the city.
“Company shall respond to requests for rebalancing, reports of incorrectly parked electric foot scooter, or reports of unsafe/inoperable electric foot scooters by relocating, re-parking, or removing the electric foot scooters, as appropriate, within three hours of receiving notice, if notified between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and within 12 hours of receiving notice, if notified between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.,” the agreement says. “After the allowed time frame, the city may assess a penalty of $75 for each electric foot scooter it impounds. City does not guarantee security of any impounded electric foot scooters. City shall notify the Company of the impounded electric foot scooters and their location. In such instances, company shall retrieve electric foot scooters from city within 10 business days of receiving notice. If the company does not retrieve the electric foot scooters by close of business on the fifth business day after notice has been provided, the city may dispose of any electric foot scooters by any method at the discretion of the city and the city may invoice the company for the cost of disposal. Company agrees to pay such invoice within 10 business days of receipt.”
The agreement will be revisited in 90 days.
At its recent City Commission retreat, Arnold said the state Legislature may also take up legislation regulating rental scooters.