AUSTIN -- Two motorized scooter companies have pulled their fleets from the streets of Austin after the city council adopted an emergency ordinance.
Both LimeBike and Bird came under fire after bringing their business to Austin without permits from the City. In fact, a Thursday night council meeting lasted until 3 a.m. Friday in part due to debate over the controversial scooter companies, which allow users to register the scooters for use via smart phone and then leave them in sidewalks or streets for the next user once they are done.
Both Bird and LimeBike released statements to KVUE Sunday, confirming they would be removing the transportation devices from use, at least temporarily.
"We expect Birds in Austin to be back on the streets within a few days," said Bird spokesperson Kenneth Baer. "From the beginning we have respected the rule of law and we will not operate outside the boundaries of the ordinance just passed. We look forward to working closely with the Austin Transportation Department to obtain a permit as soon as possible in order to minimize any potential disruption or delay in service to the people of Austin."
LimeBike said in its statement it plans to roll out a new fleet, which will include bikes.
"LimeBike applauds the City of Austin’s decision to establish a permit to allow for dock-free mobility in the city," said spokesperson Mary Caroline Pruitt. "Given this recent progress and in response to a request from the City of Austin, we will be removing our scooters from the streets of the Austin effectively immediately while we apply for a permit. We express our sincerest apologies to our riders for the inconvenience and look forward to deploying a multi-modal fleet later this week. Over the past few weeks, thousands of Austinites have utilized our e-assist scooters to navigate the City and get where they need to go. Under this new permit system, we look forward to rolling out a multi-modal fleet to include bikes, e-assist bikes, and e-assist scooters."
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.