Deadline looms for Raleigh’s electric scooter companies

The clock’s ticking for Raleigh’s electric scooter companies.

Bird and Lime have until 5 p.m. Thursday to comply with Raleigh’s rules or be off the streets within 72 hours.

If the companies miss the deadline and don’t remove their scooters in three days, the city has said it will take “any necessary actions to remove all scooters remaining in the right of way.”

The companies asked the city questions about the rules as recently as this week, but no agreements had been submitted as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, said Raleigh Transportation Director Michael Moore.

Electric scooters arrived in Raleigh this summer and cost $1 to unlock with a mobile phone and are 15 cents for each minute. They’re meant to be ridden on the streets and riders are encouraged to use a helmet, though few do.

The city’s rules limit each company to 500 scooters. Bird has about 1,100 in the city while Lime has about 300. The city will charge a $300 per scooter fee to use the city’s right of way, generating about $300,000 for the city to enforce its rules.

The fee was originally set at $100 per scooter before the Raleigh City Council asked it be increased to $150 per scooters. Then council members asked that the fee be doubled.

Raleigh’s rules also require the companies to place some scooters in “communities of concern,” to follow local, state and federal laws and to share data about the number of rides, accidents and maintenance.

Efforts to reach Lime and Bird for comment were unsuccessful.

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Anna Johnson covers Raleigh and Wake County for the News & Observer. She has previously covered city government, crime and business for newspapers across North Carolina and received many North Carolina Press Association awards, including first place for investigative reporting. She is a 2012 alumna of Elon University.
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