Scooter companies at odds with Atlanta over impounds

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta is now charging fees to transportation companies when it picks up their abandoned or improperly parked rental scooters.

City officials say they're no longer simply releasing the scooters without receiving impound fees.

Public Works Commissioner James Jackson Jr. ordered that the fees be collected.

The change was made after it was revealed last month that the city failed to collect at least $200,000 in scooter impound fees since summer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

But one scooter company says the city has provided inconsistent evidence the impounded devices were illegally parked.

The latest dust-up between the city and the companies raises questions about how the Atlanta Department of Public Works collects the scooters and informs companies of violations.

City Council members questioned Jackson last week about the process of documenting illegally parked scooters and raised concerns that companies received incorrect violations.

Jackson acknowledged the city had initial issues with enforcement because the team tasked with collecting scooters — the Solid Waste Education Enforcement Team — is also responsible for enforcing sanitation regulations such as illegal dumping, recycling, and solid waste disposal.

Councilman Amir Farokhi said the city needs to make sure the impoundment process is set up in a way that is legally sound and enforces the rules the city has in place.

“I think it’s a reasonable expectation, whether you’re getting a speeding ticket as a driver or you have a scooter that runs afoul of city law, that the violation is documented and that proof is provided to the vendor in order to ask for a payment,” Farokhi told the newspaper.

City officials are still working on scooter legislation to present to council members. An updated plan is to be presented to the city council's transportation committee on Dec. 11.