INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – One of two scooter providers in downtown Indianapolis said Thursday night it would pull its fleet off the street to appease city officials.
Lime, which provided the lime green scooters, received a cease-and-desist order from the city on Tuesday.
“Per the city’s request, we are halting scooter operations effective the evening of July 5, as we work together over the next week to draft a scooter regulatory framework,” Lime said in a statement.
The other scooter provided, Bird Rides, was the first to launch in the city in mid-May. It ignored the city’s cease-and-desist order, issued June 19, three days after the company started operations in Indianapolis, to stop operating for 30 days.
Lime said “due to the nature of a highly competitive market,” Lime introduced its scooters June 23.
Lime said in a statement issued Thursday by Maggie Gendron, director of strategic development, that it had been working with city officials to introduce scooters and bikes that could be used without getting them from docks. The Pacers Rideshare bicycle system uses such docks.
A spokesperson provided a statement from Bird on Friday afternoon. The company said it is “operating lawfully with the required business permit” and expressed the hope that scooter service would not be interrupted while city officials work on a new permit process:
Indianapolis is a growing, dynamic city interested in increasing access to affordable transportation options. This goal is complementary to Bird’s mission. Bird is operating lawfully with the required business permit in the city of Indianapolis, and the people of Indianapolis have enthusiastically embraced shared electric scooters. We’re working cooperatively with city officials on a draft ordinance that will require operators to have a new form of permit once the ordinance is passed. We hope that city officials will be able to create a smooth transition to the new permit process so that service to Hoosiers is not interrupted.
City officials have been trying to develop a licensing process for the scooter providers.
WISH-TV spoke with Nathan Hasse, an operations manager with Lime, Thursday night.
Hasse says Lime decided to remove the scooters to give the city time to figure out how to regulate the devices, but also to develop a positive relationship with the city.
“We are trying to show that respect for the city and continue on that goodwill path and remove all scooters,” Hasse said.
Under a new proposal that’s set to go before the full City-County Council on July 16, the city would be able to take into consideration past compliance with current city ordinance when it comes to granting future business licenses.
“We never just jump into a city first without letting them know because of the respect for them,” Hasse said. “So again, with the rules we are hoping to help write, we are hoping that will show the good will in the past and help us move forward and do really well for us.”
Reaction to the news was mixed from downtown residents Thursday evening.
“It’s kind of hazardous driving on the streets when they are going this way and that way,” David Sykes said.
“For my sake, it’s not really an issue,” Carl Boozer said. “But, I think if they have to take them off the streets, then there is probably a strategic issue that they probably should’ve thought out before they put them on the road.”
“With the downtown growing traffic, it’s a convenience factor so people can quickly get on the move, so I don’t have a problem with it,” David Hackett said.
Officials said in June that the City-County Council could approve such a process as early as July 16.