TEMPE, AZ — Razor Scooters, a dockless rentable electric scooter company, has sent a letter to the City of Tempe saying they may be forced to pull their scooters from the city within the next two months unless changes are made to the city's license agreement.
"We have been please with the results of our efforts and the roots we have developed within the Tempe community. We have now served tens of thousands of riders, all the while forging close partnerships with Tempe's various micro-mobility stakeholders. However, The City's new license agreement, as currently written, seriously threatens our ability to continue operating in Tempe," Razor's letter said.
"As it stands, the status quo will prevent Razor from being able to serve Tempe beyond the next 30-day days," the letter said.
In January, Tempe passed a licensee agreement for e-scooter and e-bike companies that required a $7,888 application fee, a "right of way use fee" of $1.06 per vehicle per day, and a $100 relocation fee.
TiaAnna Yee, a spokesperson for the City of Tempe, said Razor submitted their application for a license on Tuesday and paid the application fee on Wednesday. A Bird spokesperson told ABC15 this week that it had also submitted its application to the city and paid the annual fee.
Razor's news comes two days after Lime, another e-scooter company, announced in a letter to Tempe's mayor and city council that it was pulling its scooters from the city citing liability concerns and fees associated with Tempe's license requirements.
Earlier in the day on Wednesday, in reference to Razor's letter, Tempe City Councilman Kolby Granville released a statement on his Facebook page that stated the city received a letter from the company, and that the company would be pulling their scooters from the city. The post made no mention of trying to re-work the city's agreement with Razor to remedy the partnership.
Granville said he realizes it may appear that the city is trying to push the scooter businesses out of town, but that he is actually a supporter of them.
“I LOVE the scooters. I ride them every week. I think they serve a very important role in "last mile" travel. However, like all things, there are secondary effects; scooters blocking ADA access, and injuries to riders and others. These are costs that Tempe (and through taxes, Tempe residents) will have to incur, in the way of additional police enforcement, as well as signage, infrastructure, and lawsuits," he said in a Facebook post.
"The scooter companies want ALL Tempe residents to adsorb those costs via our city budget (ie your taxes)," he said.
In reference to Lime's announcement, Vice Mayor Lauren Kuby wrote on her Facebook page: "Dear scooter companies: wouldn't it have been better for you to come to the City before you fanned out across the public right of way, wreaking havoc in your wake? There are responsible companies out there, not sure about this one!"
Since e-scooter companies began operating in the Valley, cities and towns have been trying to figure out how to regulate and handle the companies.
Last month, Bird pulled its scooters from Peoria citing similar concerns related to costs and liability. Earlier this week, The Glendale Star reported that the City of Glendale sent Bird a cease-and-desist letter demanding that they remove their scooters from the city.
In December, Scottsdale passed an ordinance determining where the scooters and bikes could be ridden, stored and how closely together they could be parked.
The City of Tempe released this statement earlier this week after Lime announced it would pull scooters from Tempe.
CITY OF TEMPE STATEMENT ON LIME
"Since Tempe City Council passed the Shared Active Transportation Vehicle license on Jan. 10, the city has received two applications, both of which are in review and currently pending. Although Lime chose to be a part of the stakeholder process, they have chosen not to apply for a license. While we regret that Lime feels they are unable to operate in Tempe under the current license conditions, the city does believe the insurance, fees and other requirements are fair and necessary to ensure the scooter companies operate in a way that ensures community safety and equal access.
The license requires a per vehicle per day fee for use of the right of way. Revenue from this fee will be used to ensure Tempe’s streets and sidewalks are safe for all users by targeting safety outreach messages and Police Department education and enforcement. These funds could also be used to help improve Tempe sidewalks and streets, as well as fund future bicycle and pedestrian projects.
The SATV license is a work in progress. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the success of the license and we will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure we are offering a safe, equitable and sustainable modes of transportation within the city."