Parking and Transportation Services to impound, charge fines for Bird, Lime scooters past gameday checkpoints

Jackson Barton

Walking past Garrison Hall on her way to class, philosophy senior Daniela Caso stopped to take a picture of a dockless Lime scooter hung in a tree.

“(The Lime app makes) you take a photo to make sure that it’s parked correctly, and that’s your name and your account associated,” Caso said. “If that’s not enough to get someone to park properly, I don’t know what is.”

Blanca Gamez, assistant director of UT Parking and Transportation Services, said PTS will be impounding scooters operating past game day checkpoints this Saturday and impose a $150 fine. She said riders should park their scooters in designated scooter parking lots.

PTS received many reports last Saturday of riders getting scooters past checkpoints, either by jumping curbs or coming in through unpatrolled areas, Gamez said. Only one Bird scooter was impounded last weekend, when PTS assistant director Dennis Delaney stopped a rider traveling past a checkpoint. The rider left the scooter, and no fine was imposed.

“They didn’t want to get off their scooter, even when they knew that they weren’t supposed to go past the checkpoint,” Gamez said. “After everything was explained to them, they dropped the scooter and walked away, and we impounded it at that point.”

Neither the rider nor Bird was fined on Saturday for the impounded scooter, but Gamez said PTS is using this incident as fair warning to riders that the department is serious about impounding.

“When you have tens of thousands of people in a really closed area, scooters become a little bit dangerous in that whole mix of people walking around,”
Gamez said.

Collin Morgan, Lime general manager for Austin and San Antonio, said they would be charging riders $150 plus $25 a day for storage if their scooter gets impounded.

Bird did not respond to a comment request on how they would be charging riders of impounded scooters.

Although sociology freshman Jonathan Arevalo has never ridden or used a dockless scooter, he has mixed feelings on whether students should be charged $150 for parking in the wrong place.

“You have to go to the person who last rode it, but I don’t like that either because $150 … that’s a lot of money for a kid who’s just trying to get to class,”
Arevalo said.