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Lime Scooters Aren’t Going Anywhere, City Loses Battle To Revoke Operating Permit

Lime scooters being loaded inside a truck, July 22, 2019.

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: Lime scooters being loaded inside a truck, July 22, 2019.

Lime scooters are here to stay in San Diego, at least for now.

A city of San Diego administrative hearing officer has decided that, in trying to revoke Lime's permit to operate, city officials did not give proper notice of alleged geofencing violations to Lime or prove that the scooter company failed to comply with geofencing requirements.

The decision came down earlier this week.

“Lime is pleased with the decision and we appreciate the hearing officer for recognizing our compliance in San Diego," said Lime spokesman Alex Youn. "As San Diego’s longest serving operator, we value our partnership with the city and look forward to continuing to serve the community.”

In certain areas of the city, like near the beach, scooter companies are required to limit speeds, which is done with technology called geofencing. In August city officials notified Lime it was seeking to revoke it's permit to operate for violating those speed restrictions.

RELATED: San Diego Looking To Oust Lime Scooters

The hearing officer said the city's notice to Lime had "the absence of any meaningful facts" and that the city needed to provide more information to Lime other than telling the company it was in violation of "geofencing speed and operating restrictions."

The hearing officer concluded Lime was not given enough information to fix the alleged problem and the company was denied due process.

The city released a statement on the decision, focusing on making streets and sidewalks safe.

“We respect the decision and look forward to adopting enhanced scooter regulations — which have already been presented to committee — that give the city even more tools to enforce public safety laws and keep our streets and sidewalks safe," a city of San Diego spokesman said in a statement.

The hearing officer said the city's evidence against lime was insufficient. The city used a San Diego Police detective taking laser measurements to record multiple speed violations — but the hearing officer found the detective had never used the laser on scooters, the laser was only certified at 35 mph and higher (scooters were recorded going less than 20 mph) and the laser was not tested to ensure accuracy before the investigation. There was also insufficient evidence to show the detective observed violations inside geofenced areas.

The hearing officer also concluded that evidence collected from compliance testing was insufficient. None of the city's testers had code compliance in their job descriptions, staff determined non-compliance by looking at scooter speedometers and did not check the accuracy of the speedometers, and evidence provided by Lime showed portions of the tests took place outside of geofenced areas.

Lime was also relieved of paying $841 in administrative costs. The decision can be appealed, but the city has indicated it will not.

Read the full hearing decision below.


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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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