Santa Barbara County is not just rounding up ride-sharing scooters, they have other plans for those businesses if they want to offer their services locally, and it comes with fees.
An encroachment fee schedule has been designed for ride-sharing scooters, bikes, zip-cars, and restaurants using county sidewalks for tables and chairs.
The scooters are also referred to as shared mobility vehicles. They have been polarizing in the last year with some citizens furious over the hundreds of new rides that have been “dumped” on the streets for pay-as-you-go ways to get around. They say the scooters are in the walkways, left on the ground and create “havoc.”
Others say the scooters are set up in an orderly way, and employees of the companies Bird and Lime regularly round them up to make sure they are not inappropriately in the way.
The City of Goleta, Santa Barbara and UC Santa Barbara are impounding them.
The county’s fee schedule and applications begin Thursday for scooters and bike share businesses. County officials discussed this Tuesday and the public works department says it is ready to go with the program tomorrow
In real number, they say possibly 1,200 scooters have been put out into the area, mainly in Isla Vista and the Goleta Valley.
Supervisor Janet Wolf said she wanted them banned altogether. She also said if that did not get support — which it did not — she wanted them banned in residential areas, and also a limit on how many could be put into service in certain locations.
Resistance and rejection also came from Rodney Gould, and Isla Vista resident who said it was chaos in an area where he goes for lunch. He said some of the scooters have been routinely left on the ground or knocked over. He has also seen pictures of the scooters being thrown in the ocean.
Gould did not say if the pictures were shot intentionally for social media postings, or if someone just happened to be shooting when a scooter was being thrown intentionally.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department has put out a list of rules for riding the scooters including following all traffic laws, and not riding two to a scooter. NewsChannel 3 recently showed two college-age students riding one scooter with a leg stretched out each direction coming down El Colegio Road.
Wolf says her constituents have not been happy with the scooters as an alternative to a car with the way these programs have rolled out.
The county is suggesting fees for specific areas set aside for the scooters or bike, along with monthly fees for each vehicle. Violation of the rules would impact the permit.
Complaints would have to be acted on within two hours. That would include someone saying the scooters were blocking a sidewalk or piled up in landscaping.
Workers for the companies can find the vehicles using a GPS type device.
Customers with a phone App for Lime or Bird are able to activate a scooter with their phone and when they are done and stop the scooter the fee for use ends.
For more information on the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department go to: https://www.countyofsb.org/pwd/
For the county report on the ride sharing and encroachment policies go to: https://santabarbara.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3772213&GUID=DACDEB07-ED5B-4FC5-BAB5-42DD8BA3B8B1