SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – Two men are in San Diego, california have detained thousands of electric scooters, which they say have been left dotted all over the city, and the endangerment of pedestrians and cyclists, sparking a battle with the companies who flooded the cities with the two-wheelers.
John Heinkel, 55, and Dan Borelli, 43, works for a small outfit called ScootScoop. They use a flatbed truck to tow away the scooters, and they say the left have been around the houses or other private properties.
In a little over a year of operations, they have seized more than 12,500 electric scooters, Borelli said. The electric scooter companies, like Bird Lime, and have responded by suing in California state court, accusing them of unlawful taking of a vehicle.
The battle between the men and the engine companies, underlining the chaotic legal landscape is that of the vehicle, which is the same size as the toy scooters that are a lot of people have rode it as children will, but it will be powered by an electric motor.
Cities and towns in the United States and Europe, and find it difficult to control the scooter, in the middle of the complaints of a few residents and businesses that clutter the pavements and parked it in the danger to pedestrians when driving.
A dozen of electric scooters the companies have received more than $1.5 billion in investment in total, according to a report released earlier this year by the Boston Consulting Group.
Borelli describes ScootScoop as a start-up business in its own right, and with that he and Heinkel are the only full-time employees. As with many start-ups, ScootScoop, it is still not turning a profit.
Most of the scooters from the company have been seized in San Diego, california, are the birds and the Lime, but those companies are refusing to pay for the pick up of the vehicle, and most ScootScoop in the court of law through court cases, Borelli says.
The bird, in a statement, said the ScootScoop was “illegally impounding of the micro-mobility of devices and demands a ransom for their return.”
“We are looking for an instant stop to their scheme, if the company is robbing the people of the eco-friendly scooter, the possibilities are that they will have to rely on every day to get to and from work, as well as to the local businesses,” the company said.
The lime, in a statement, said the ScootScoop, repeatedly, has taken on the scooters that are the “responsibility room.”
“They tried to deputize himself as an extension of the city, it is not only illegal, but it is nothing more than the theft of property rules in order to generate revenue,” Lime said.
ScootScoop reserves the right to confiscate the scooters, according to California law if they are improperly parked on private property, and that the invoices for the engine companies with at least $50 per vehicle to bring them back, Borelli said. ScootScoop plans to auction off some of the scooters, if it is not paid.
With the Bird’s Calcium is refusing to pay for the scooter and sit in a ScootScoop’s compound, but it is not silent. If ScootScoop in the truck and drove off with a load of them last week and sent a chorus of chirping sounds that are designed to attract potential thieves are put off by them.
The city of San Diego’s leaders earlier this year approved rules and regulations for electric scooters, which require companies to have permits and to comply with the new rules, as it is in the old town, the scooters can only be parked in certain designated “seed.”
Borelli and the Heinkel said they were not personally opposed to motor scooters in San Diego, California’s second-largest city.
“We don’t want to get into a war,” Borelli said. “We want co-existence. We want the engine to live.”
Writing and additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Cynthia Osterman