Austin leaders’ recent decision to push forward a dockless-vehicle ordinance and pilot program after electric-scooter companies Bird and LimeBike began operating unregulated and unlicensed has competing companies demanding reparations, the Austin American-Statesman’s Ben Wear reported Monday.
According to Wear, dockless-vehicle rental companies Spin and Zagster on Monday released a letter previous sent to “city officials,” asking Austin to punish Bird and LimeBike by banning the companies from resuming their operations under the new ordinance.
Wear wrote that Spin’s Brian Kyuhoon No and Zagster’s Tim Alborg claim that Bird and LimeBike’s premature presence on the Austin market set up “an enormous competitive advantage for themselves … likely securing tens of thousands of app downloads and enjoying the invaluable long-term benefit of being first-to-market with an innovative new service.”
Bird and LimeBike will probably prove the adage that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission, as Wear notes that the Austin City Council has already agreed that companies that have operated illegally would be restored to “good standing” if they ceased operations until the Austin Transportation Department finished developing its licensing process and they can obtain permits. The two companies have so far complied with that requirement.
The companies on both sides of the conflict have begun email campaigns directed at various Austin residents, asking them to contact city officials in support, Wear reported. City officials have estimated that acceptance of applications should begin by May 14, he added, with up to three business days required to review and approve companies for operation.