Raleigh City Council Imposes Scooter Tax

By Brent Woodcox

On Monday morning, users of Bird scooters were greeted with a message from the company informing them that because of an “unreasonable” tax adopted by the Raleigh City Council last year, scooter users would face tripled fees to unlock a scooter in Raleigh. The price was raised from $1 to $3 to match the tripling of fees per scooter adopted by the council from $100 to $300 during a meeting last year.

Hopping on a Bird scooter in Raleigh just got a lot more expensive.

In response to the Raleigh City Council’s regulations, which include a $300-per-scooter fee, Bird is upping per-ride fees 200 percent. Users will now pay a $2 “transportation” fee in addition to the previous $1 unlock fee and then $0.15 per minute for each ride.

Competitor Lime has not raised its fees as of Monday, according to the app.

The council passed rules for the scooters in November, implementing the $300 fee per scooter, totaling $150,000 for the maximum of five hundred permitted scooters. Rules also dictate when the scooters can be put out in the morning and where they can be left by riders. The rules only apply to current operators in the city, and preferred operators will be selected later this year through a bidding process.

Scooter operators Bird and Lime reluctantly agreed to the council’s demands in December, with both companies noting the rules make it harder to provide services in the city.

The new fee is the “result of financial regulations passed by Raleigh City Council,” Bird said in a press release.

“When [the] Raleigh City Council passed its regulations, Bird had two options: abandon the community we’ve had the honor to serve and focus on more business-friendly cities, or stay and fight for riders like you who want transportation alternatives,” the company stated. “To us, the decision was an easy one. We decided to stay and work to ensure Raleigh residents don’t have to pay a premium for environmentally friendly transportation—but we need your help.”

Bird urged residents to email city council members and ask them to “remove this unreasonable tax.” ...
— Leigh Tauss - Indy Week

Obviously, this tax will fall hardest on those with the least ability to pay who may be relying on scooters as a transportation option because they don’t have access to a car. You can email all council members to tell them to repeal the scooter tax by sending an email to CityCouncilMembers@raleighnc.gov.

Or click the link in the tweet embedded below to send the council a message about their scooter tax.

Brent Woodcox