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Lime and Bird remove scooters from the streets of downtown Phoenix

The companies are temporarily pulling their scooters to meet city requirements

_20190916 Downtown Phoenix electric scooter pilot program 0206.jpg

Spin electric scooters are lined up on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Lime and Bird pulled their scooters from the streets of Phoenix on Friday to update their technology in order to adequately follow the city's requirements. 

Lime and Bird are two of the three companies working with the city of Phoenix on the new e-scooter pilot program, which launched last week. 

Read More: Tempe and Phoenix implement new visions for the future of e-scooters 

Ashley Patton, a public information officer for the city of Phoenix said Bird and Lime pulled their scooters voluntarily to make updates in their geofencing technology. 

She said the companies will work to make sure that users end their rides in a designated parking spot. 

The removal of the company's scooters comes after the Phoenix New Times reported that Bird and Lime were violating a city provision requiring companies to only allow riders to stop their ride when in a designated parking zone. 

Vendors are required to “create and demonstrate a customized app with geofencing technology to meet the requirements of the Phoenix Pilot Program including its boundaries, no ride zones and parking requirements,” according to the pilot program website

Patton said the companies were in violation of this requirement and were issued a notice citing that failure to comply would result in the suspension of their permits. 

"At this point in time, Bird and Lime have both voluntarily and proactively pulled their fleets of scooters from the Phoenix pilot program to make updates and enhancements to meet the requirements,” Patton said. "When they are able to demonstrate the requirements are met, they will re-deploy scooters.”

Spin, the other company working with the city on the new e-scooter pilot program is still active in the city, however the company decided to pull their scooters from the streets on Monday due to weather concerns. 

A Lime spokesperson said the company has been in close communication with the city in order to improve geofencing technology. 

“We appreciate Phoenix for being forward thinking about micro-mobility and have been in close communication with the city while we make minor updates to our software to ensure we are creating a safe and responsible environment for riders and non-riders alike,” the Lime spokesperson said. 

The Lime spokesperson said the company is only temporarily removing the scooters from the city to update the technology on them and hopes to have the scooters back on the streets soon. 

Bird spokeswoman, Mackenzie Long, said in an email statement, “Bird has made the difficult decision to temporarily pause our operations in Phoenix. We have successfully demonstrated to city officials the ability to comply with their parking rules, however our decision to pause comes as a result of the availability of vehicles in the area that meet the program’s requirements. We plan to continue working closely with city and community leaders so we can return in the future.”

Patton said the city understood there would be a learning curve when it came to this new program and that the two companies are “working very diligently to make these upgrades.” 

"With any new program rollout, particularly involving technology, the Street Transportation Department anticipated glitches; we were ready to allow time for troubleshooting,” Patton said. “We are working with the companies on a continual and collaborative basis. This is a new, cutting edge and innovative requirement for the vendors so we are understanding of the learning curve and working together.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from Bird.

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