MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) -
One day after the City of Charleston ordered Bird scooters to leave with a cease and desist letter, the scooters appeared across the Ravenel Bridge early on Tuesday morning.
One grouping was seen at the Sticky Fingers on Highway 17 before Mount Pleasant police officers came by with a truck and picked them up. Bird just applied for a business license in Mt. Pleasant Tuesday morning and officers went out and picked up all the scooters, according to town spokeswoman Martine Wolfe-Miller. She says the town is in contact with the company about picking the scooters up.
The scooters first appeared in Charleston last weekend where they were used in limited capacity but left all over the city because the scooters don't have formal docking stations. Instead, the company relies on people it employs as chargers to pick up the scooters and juice them back up.
The scooters are rented through an app for $1 and cost roughly 0.15 cents to ride per minute, operating on lithium-ion batteries.The company, based in Los Angeles and founded by a former Uber executive, launched its first pilot program in Santa Monica in the fourth quarter of 2017. It's already reportedly seeking a $2 billion valuation.
Charleston's cease and desist letter read in part:
We recently became aware that your company, BIRD RIDES, INC., is operating an unlicensed and illegal motorized scooter rental program in the City of Charleston, South Carolina. Apparently, you began your operations after being advised by the City of Charleston staff that the activity was illegal. Specifically, the activity of renting and operating motorized scooters violates Sec. 54-223 and Section 19-133, Code of the City of Charleston. It also appears that Bird Rides, Inc. is operating this business without a City of Charleston issued business license.
Accordingly, the City of Charleston is hereby placing BIRD RIDES, INC. on notice to immediately cease and desist this illegal conduct and remove all scooters from the City of Charleston. In the event the company fails to do so, please be advised that the City will pursue all available remedies to stop the public safety hazard and nuisance created by this activity. This includes issuing citations to BIRD RIDES, INC. and its agents in South Carolina.
Please be advised that each time a scooter is rented and for each day a scooter remains in the City, it is considered a separate violation of the City' s Code for which an additional criminal citation can be issued. The penalties for these violations range anywhere from $1.00 to $1,092 and/or 30 days in jail. In the event a scooter is left unattended in the public right of way and is determined by the Charleston Police Department to create a traffic hazard (pedestrian or motor vehicle), the scooter will be removed from the public right of way and impounded at the Charleston Police Department.
Live 5 News has also reached out to Bird for comment.
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