After Complying With City Rules, Lime Scooters Will Return to Downtown Phoenix

Lime plans to re-deploy its fleet of electric scooters in downtown Phoenix.

The move comes days after the company removed its vehicles from the streets over a Phoenix New Times report on its noncompliance with city parking rules.

Lime representatives demonstrated to city officials on Tuesday that they have implemented software precluding riders from parking outside one of downtown’s 400 designated parking zones, one of several requirements for scooter companies operating in the city.

“The company representatives showcased their technology and it meets the standards,” said Ashley Patton, a spokesperson for the Phoenix Street Transportation department.

Lime released a statement saying: “We are glad to be back on the streets of Phoenix and apologize for the inconvenience while we updated our software to help create a safe and responsible environment for riders and non-riders alike.”

Bird, another scooter company that removed its scooters over noncompliance with Phoenix’s parking rules, did not respond to request for comment. Patton said Bird is “working diligently to return to the program.”

Spin, the third scooter company operating in Phoenix, has been in compliance since a six-month pilot program for the electric vehicles launched last week.

The rule in question required scooter operators to use so-called “geo-fencing” technology to prevent riders from ending sessions outside one of Phoenix’s designated parking zones, which are marked by plastic white poles emblazoned with reflective yellow markers.

Phoenix required scooter companies to demonstrate the geo-fencing capability to prevent sidewalk clutter, a problem that has angered pedestrians and local officials in other cities with scooter programs. People familiar with the emerging industry said Phoenix’s requirements are among the strictest in the United States.

A spokesperson for Lime said, while the company has complied with Phoenix’s rules, its geo-fencing technology is imperfect. Tall buildings and other obstacles may cause a GPS map to display a scooter several feet from where it actually is, allowing riders to park outside designated corrals.

“We know this is a new technology and therefore a learning period for all – the city, operators, and riders – to understand the innovative approach to this form of transportation,” Patton said.

New Times also encountered the “drift” issue when it tested Spin’s geo-fencing technology last week, wherein the company’s app placed us in a parking corral even though we were several meters away from the nearest one.