Lime, a motorized scooter company that has been operating in Oxford since last October, has recently considered leaving the city because the Miami University Police Department (MUPD) had increased the impound fees for improperly parked scooters.
MUPD has been impounding improperly parked scooters across campus for nearly a year, but recently raised the fee to retrieve them from $25 to $100 this semester. A Lime employee, who would only speak to The Miami Student on the condition of anonymity, said dozens of scooters have been impounded since students returned to campus, costing the company over $2,000 a day in fees.
The source said Lime was effectively left with two choices to prevent future fees: pass costs onto the students who were improperly parking scooters or leave.
“We didn’t want to have to pass the fines on to the students because we knew that a $100 fine would be quite onerous for a student,” the employee said.
So, Lime reached out to MUPD to find a compromise.
On Friday, Aug. 30, MUPD agreed to allow Lime to pick up its scooters from impound without paying the fee. While the department hasn’t reached a permanent deal with Lime yet, the temporary resolution was enough to keep the company in Oxford for the time being.
Captain Ben Spilman, director of Parking and Transportation Services at MUPD, said the department was not aware of Lime’s plans to possibly cease operations in Oxford when it agreed to temporarily waive the impound fees.
Spilman also said that the $100 impound fee is on par with other universities that are suffering from the same issues with improper use of scooters. The Ohio State University, for example, charges an even steeper $300 fee for impounded scooters, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
He went on to say MUPD has encouraged Lime to pass the costs on to the students to increase user accountability.
“At the end of the day, if the user is impacted by [the fines], then the behavior is going to change,” Spilman said. “But [Lime] obviously doesn’t want to lose customers, so they aren’t passing those fines on.”
Negotiations between Lime and MUPD will continue, but it is still unknown whether they will be able to reach a deal that keeps Lime in Oxford permanently.