San Diego

Companies Billed Big for Bikes, Scooters Impounded During Comic-Con

New data from the city of San Diego shows how many dockless scooter and bike devices crews impounded over the five-days of Comic-Con.

The data also reveals how much in impound fees ($65 per device) each dockless device company accrued.

The city said the data reflects devices that were impounded within a geofenced area around the San Diego Convention Center permitted off limits to riders during Comic-Con.

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Between July 17-21, six dockless device companies racked up a combined $161,590 in impound fees. City crews impounded 2,486 devices over the course of five days, including 1,035 of Bird's devices.

Comic-Con 2019 drew an estimated 135,000 people to the Convention Center and thousands more to the surrounding Gaslamp District. 

The city says it impounds the devices because they presented public safety hazards because riders were parking them in areas that blocked sidewalks, walkways, and ramps.

The city said eight employees used trucks and earned overtime pay to collect the rentals over the weekend, while three more workers stayed at the maintenance yard to organize them.

A city spokesperson told NBC 7's Artie Ojeda that it won't profit off of the tens of thousands of dollars in impound fees it's owed by dockless scooter and bike companies.

Though the city stands to collect more than $160,000 in impound fees, a city spokesperson said the city won't make a profit from the impound operation.

Bird questioned whether the city followed its own guidelines before it impounded their scooters.

In an email to NBC 7, a spokesperson for Bird said the “E- scooters were impounded without following the guidelines for doing so as laid out in the permits issued by the city. Impounds were also made without evidence of violation. We are working with the city to understand how these impounds came to be given those two factors.”

Under a city ordinance that took effect on July 1, the city is supposed to give the scooter companies three hours’ notice to collect their illegally parked or staged devices. But in this case, a city spokesperson says there was an exception.

“The City is within its rights to enforce its regulations and impound shared mobility devices. The San Diego Municipal Code allows the City to impound devices immediately without notice to the operators when devices are in a condition or are parked in a manner that poses a public safety hazard to residents,” said public information officer Scott Robinson in a statement to NBC 7.

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