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San Diego Looking To Oust Lime Scooters

Lime employees gather scooters that were impounded during Comic-Con, July 22,...

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: Lime employees gather scooters that were impounded during Comic-Con, July 22, 2019.

The city of San Diego is putting the brakes on Lime electric scooters by starting the process of revoking the company’s permit to operate in the city.

"We’re going to hold people accountable," said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. "Look, we’ve established very clear rules of the road when it comes to scooters and I absolutely expect those rules to be followed by every single company."

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

New rules that went into effect last month require companies to use technology called "geofencing" to limit speeds in certain areas like Mission Beach. The city said Lime has violated these new rules at least three times.

Reported by Matt Hoffman , Video by Matt Hoffman

RELATED: City Council Approves Regulations For Dockless Scooters, Bikes

Company officials say the city is mistaken.

"I have reassured them that we are compliant and we’re working to demonstrate to the city that we are," said Lime General Manager Kimia Talebian.

Talebian said the company reached out to city officials for an explanation but have not reached nor heard back. She said the news has left employees confused.

"We employ about 130 full-time staff not to mention about 3,000 gig-economy workers that are on a weekly basis coming to us — they rely on us for income," she said. "Waking up to news like that — it’s not pleasant."

RELATED: Police Crack Down On Scooters As Councilwoman Barbara Bry Calls For Temporary Ban

There are at least five scooter companies in San Diego and the city would not say if it is looking to revoke any other permits — but it expects all companies to obey the rules.

"I think you’ve seen most of the companies comply — that’s exactly what we want — but we’re going to hold everyone accountable," Faulconer said. "And that’s very clear and I’m going to continue to be very clear about it."

Lime said it is fulfilling an important community need, claiming that 3 million people in San Diego have taken rides on its scooters.

"People take these to work — these are people who can’t afford cars — they can’t afford Uber," Talebian said. "We’re here to fill that gap."

Next month a code enforcement hearing will determine if Lime scooters stay or go. Lime will keep it’s operating permit while it goes through this process. If it loses the hearing, the company would have to wait at least six months before applying for another permit.

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The city claims Lime violated new speed rules for scooters that went into effect in July; the company says the city is wrong. Plus, veterans who participated in nuclear weapons ... Read more →

Aired: August 21, 2019 | Transcript

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Photo of Matt Hoffman

Matt Hoffman
Health Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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