Uber to pull bikes, scooters from San Diego

SAN DIEGO -- In the sea of dockless bikes and scooters crowding San Diego streets, one major player is dropping out.

The ridesharing company Uber says they'll be removing Jump bikes and scooters from all locations in San Diego aside from two small fleets on local naval bases starting Thursday, Sept. 19.

Representatives for the company told FOX 5 that local regulations had made it too difficult to provide the service in San Diego.

“We agree with local elected officials in San Diego who’ve said current micromobility regulations foster an unsustainable operating environment, which is why we’re ending our operations as of today," an Uber spokesperson said. "We look forward to working with the city to develop more sensible regulations.”

"We understand this may have a huge impact on your day-to-day commuting and we regret the fact that we can no longer provide this service to you," a spokesperson wrote in an email to a rider Thursday.

In response to Uber's announcement, City Councilwoman Barbara Bry released an official statement, saying, "This is simply a market correction in an oversaturated industry that jeopardizes the safety of San Diegans and visitors. I continue to call for a moratorium on electric scooters until we develop a fiscally responsible and well thought-out plan that priorities public and environmental safety."

A recent explosion in bike and scooter companies, and the backlash from locals who consider them more of a neighborhood blight than convenience, has become so significant it's gaining national media attention.

Beyond crowding sidewalks and sometimes becoming the target of petty vandalism, critics say the scooters are dangerous. A rash of serious head injuries led one city councilwoman to call for an all-out ban on the electric vehicles in August. In June, a tourist from Arizona died in a scooter crash in Mission Beach.

The next month, city officials took steps to make the alternative transportation safer by reducing speeds in high-traffic areas, including around Petco Park. Companies are now required to use "geofencing" technology to regulate the scooters' speeds depending on location.

The dockless transportation options aren't unpopular with everyone. Residents, and especially tourists, routinely tell FOX 5 they find them convenient for covering short distances for a lower cost and wait time than calling a Lyft or Uber.

Other companies still operating in San Diego include Lime, Bird and Razor.

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