Seven Scooter Companies Fined For Failing To Meet City Program Guidelines

Ariel Parrella-Aureli
July 12, 2019 - 7:49 pm

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Seven scooter companies received fines for failing to meet the city’s strict scooter guidelines as outlined by the pilot program.

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection announced 14 citations have been issued to seven scooter companies for failure to meet Chicago’s strict operational, safety and equity guidelines for the four-month scooter pilot.  Citations with a maximum fine of $1,000 have been issued to Bird, Bolt, grüv, JUMP, Sherpa, Spin and Wheels for failure to meet a number of the pilot’s terms, including ensuring that scooters remain within the pilot area, requiring post-ride pictures, responding to complaints promptly and addressing the City’s equity requirements.

“This is just the first step in holding these companies responsible to meeting our strict pilot terms,” said Rosa Escareno, BACP Commissioner. “Any vendor that continues to fail to adhere to the pilot’s terms will be subject to permit suspension or revocation.”

Chicago’s four-month electronic scooter pilot program, which runs until Oct. 15, established comprehensive terms which grant the City authority to use enforcement tools, including permit revocation if need be.

According to the BACP, investigators used deployment data and field investigations to issue the citations. The following citations were issued today:

  • Operating Outside of the Pilot Zone – Bird
  • Failure to Limit Scooters to 15 mph – Wheels
  • Failure to Require Post-Ride Pictures – Bolt and grüv
  • Failure to Respond to Complaints Within Two Hours – Sherpa and grüv
  • Failure to Be Responsive to Concerns 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – Spin and Wheels
  • Failure to Affix Educational Brochure to Scooter – Bird and Sherpa

Additionally, Bird, Bolt, JUMP and Sherpa received citations on June 28 for failure to rebalance scooters properly each morning into the two priority areas.

Other scooter companies in the mix, Lime, Lyft and VeoRide, have followed the pilot terms and are safe from a slap on the wrist.

With over 170,000 rides reported in the first three weeks of the pilot program, BACP and the Chicago Department of Transportation are reminding all residents to ride safely and follow the Scooter “Do’s and Don’ts”, especially including not riding on the sidewalk and wearing a helmet while on a scooter.

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“This pilot program is designed to help us understand the impact of scooters in Chicago,” said Kevin O’Malley, CDOT Managing Deputy Commissioner. “Lime, Lyft and VeoRide have demonstrated a commitment to safety and equity in meeting our strict pilot conditions. We welcome all comments, concerns and feedback from the community over the course of this pilot program.”

To help gather feedback, BACP and CDOT have created a email account dedicated to resident feedback, which has been added to the Do’s and Don’ts Flyer. Residents should email this account with general feedback and comments on the program to assist in the City’s evaluation of the pilot.

For issues in immediate need of resolution, people can call 3-1-1 or reach out to the individual vendor to correct issues such as improperly parked scooters, scooters outside of the zone or any other problem that should be solved immediately.

While residents have expressed mixed feelings about the arrival of scooters to their neighborhoods, companies like Lime see them as a new transportation method that can help low-income communities. Lime’s program Lime Access is an affordable program that is active in lower-income communities and cancels the barrier of having a smartphone or a credit card to scooter around by partnering with PayNearMe’s retail locations.

Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. said he likes scooters for exactly this reason.

“I applaud the City for taking a thoughtful, measured approach to testing scooters in my Ward and throughout the Pilot area,” said Walter Burnett, Jr., 27th Ward Alderman. “Scooters are providing a new mobility option for my residents and I am happy to see BACP holding the vendors accountable to the strict terms of the pilot.”