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The city of Atlanta impounded nearly 3,000 improperly parked e-scooters off city sidewalks over the summer, and released all the devices back to the respective companies that own them without collecting a penny.
The impound fees would have amounted to at least $200,000, and the city has no explanation as to why they were not collected.
Scooter enforcement has been an ongoing issue for city leaders since four riders were killed over the summer. One of the biggest complaints from residents is improperly parked scooters blocking sidewalks.
Public Works Commissioner James A. Jackson Jr. told a council committee last week that his department impounded 2,897 scooters between July 1 and Sept. 30. Council members were flabbergasted at the city’s failure to collect the fees.
“If me or you get our cars impounded, and show up to the lot and try to get them back without paying them, we’d be laughed off the lot,” Councilman Dustin Hillis said.
In an interview after the meeting, Hillis said the city likely has no hope of recouping the lost money: “That may just be our fault.”
On average, the city impounds 50 scooters daily, and should collect a $75 impound fee for each, Jackson said. There is also a $25 charge for each additional day the devices remain impounded.
The permits allowing scooters to be on city streets require companies to comply with Atlanta’s scooter regulations — including paying impound fees, Jackson said. As part of the impound process, the city photographs where the devices are found and notifies the companies, according to Jackson.