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Raleigh picks single electric scooter company to replace Bird and Lime

Only one electric scooter company will be allowed to operate in Raleigh, replacing Bird and Lime.

City leaders approved an agreement with South Carolina-based Gotcha to deploy 500 scooters later this summer. If it meets safety, usage and “certain conduct” measures, it may be allowed to deploy 1,000 scooters.

Electric scooter companies Bird and Lime arrived last year but decided to leave Raleigh this summer after butting heads with city leaders.

Five companies — Spin, Gotcha, Bolt, Lyft and VeoRide — applied to operate in Raleigh, but city staff members only recommended Gotcha.

Council member Dickie Thompson thanked the staff for finding a company that knows what it means to be a “reasonable corporate citizen in Raleigh.”

“We sure didn’t hit that on the last couple of folks,” he said.

Gotcha was picked because other cities gave it a positive recommendations and it will have local staff for greater “accountability,” said Transportation Director Michael Moore.

The company is currently operating on several college campuses including UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Wilmington and UNC Charlotte.

Like Bird and Lime, Gotcha did say the city’s $300 fee per scooter was high and asked for “some relief on costs,” Moore said. Staff members didn’t recommend that change for the first 500 scooters but said they will revisit lowering the fee for the next 500 scooters.

Unlike Bird and Lime, Gotcha will have staff pick up the scooters for charging and maintenance as opposed to individual contractors. Gotcha asked the city to expand its hours of operations from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. to help its employees retrieve the scooters.

There are 150 Bird scooters and 500 Lime scooters left in the city. They may continue operating in Raleigh through the end of July.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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