San Diego

City Has Collected Over $1.5M in Shared Electric Vehicle Permit Fees

Each scooter company must continue to pay for 6-month permits and pay $150 per device each year

San Diegans in popular tourist neighborhoods long called on the city to regulate electric scooters popping up on sidewalks. Now the city says they're regulating and also making millions off the new permit system.

Since the July rollout, the city has collected about $1.55 million dollars from permit fees and $244,823 from impound fees. In fact they project a total of $2.87 million dollars by July 2020. Those fees supposedly cover the costs of monitoring and enforcing violations.

Where does the money come from?

Each scooter company must pay for a 6-month permit at a current flat rate of $5,173 plus $150 per device annually in two payments, but participation in an “Equity Program” guarantees a 10 percent deduction.

"I think it's great they make money off of it, as long as it doesn't price the scooters out and make it too expensive for the people or companies to bring them in," Mission Beach scooter rider Jeff Wodatch said.

Seven operators applied for and received permits for a total of 22,300 shared mobility devices (SMDs), but that number dropped to 19,150 after Uber and Skip removed their devices in September.

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Based on data collected from July 1 through September 15, 2019, riders took 1.4 million trips on roughly 14,000 SMDs with an average trip length of 1.29 miles.

The report also shows a steady cash stream from impound and storage fees. Some 3,700 impounded devices from June 28 to Oct. 3 totaled $244,823, according to the report.

One noticeable rule is an 8 mile-per-hour speed limit in areas such as Balboa Park, Mission Bay Park and Pacific Beach which can be achieved through geofencing. Rider Wodatch said it keeps things safer but was concerned the cap was dangerous for riding on the road.

‘Scoot Scoops’ impound scooters they say are dumped illegally on private property. NBC 7 Artie Ojeda reports from Pacific Beach.

Compliance with the permit also requires operators to respond to citizen complaints on the Get It Done app within three hours, as well as share their data with the City.

The Equity Program involves accepting non-credit card payments, allowing non-smartphone user access, and variations of discounted fees. "Only one of the six operators has made a commitment to deploying 10 percent of their fleet in low-income communities," the report said.

Per the regulations, "operators are given notice of reported issues, with three hours to respond to and address the situation. After the three-hour window, the City, or its currently authorized contractor Sweep, Inc. has the authority to impound the device."

Other data includes 383 Vehicle Code citations issued by the Police Department, five Notice of Violations, four Administrative Citation Warnings, and one Notice of Intent to Revoke a Permit sent to Lime in August.

Community members voiced their concerns as well as support regarding the new program.
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