SAN DIEGO – San Diego city leaders are exploring new steps to crack down on shared mobility devices such as electric scooters as riders continue to hit the streets.
The city is proposing nearly two dozen new rules and policies for e-scooters while also exploring reducing the number of companies allowed to operate within San Diego city limits. They’re also weighing whether to quadruple the annual fee these companies are charged.
City officials are calling the plan a balancing act between wanting to address the years of complaints they’ve heard from residents as well as allowing scooters to become a more viable transportation option for people.
It is due for a vote by San Diego City Council in late May and could be implemented as soon as July.
In a city staff report, the city said its seven operators in the most recent permitting cycle can provide a little more than 11,000 devices throughout the city. Usage of these e-scooters is steadily creeping upward as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, but the total is down since January from some 7,500 devices a day to about 6,000 a day. One of the approved city operators is not deploying any due to “device theft,” the report shows.
Several of these companies have operated in San Diego since 2018 with much of the city’s rules put into place by the council in May 2019 to manage how they can operate in the public right-of-way.
If approved, the annual fee for each company could increase to $20,000, up from a little more than $5,100.
Under the proposal, the city could look to slash the number of operators from seven to between two and four. One factor determining which companies the city chooses is the requirement that each company includes an equity plan explaining how they would boost usage in low-income areas.
Many of the new policies require companies to use technology to alert users when they ride e-scooters into illegal areas and to slow them down when needed. Operators must also respond to complaints about the scooters much faster, reducing the time from three hours to one hour.
Scanning driver’s licenses also would be mandated to prevent usage by underage drivers.
In addition to all these new rules, every scooter would need to be labeled in 40-point font with decals saying, “Riding and parking on sidewalks are prohibited.”
Read the city staff report in its entirety by clicking or tapping here.
FOX 5’s Dillon Davis contributed to this report.