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San Diego Comic-Con cleanup includes impounding of 2,500+ scooters

Lime and other scooter companies may be left with a sour taste. The city is imposing a $65 fee for every scooter seized - totaling nearly $200,000.


After days of elaborate cosplay and jam-packed panels, San Diego Comic-Con's 50th event is now officially in the books. Amid the disassembling of stages and closing of pop-up shops, city crews were out Monday to clean up after tens of thousands packed downtown over the last several days. A notable part of the cleanup this year included the impounding of hundreds of electric scooters.  

More than 2,500 e-scooters were seized and impounded by the city then taken to a makeshift lot.  

“We had big coordinated effort between police and environmental services to clean up scooters and bikes left that caused public safety problems,” said Barbara Lamb with City of San Diego Environmental Services. 

The city instituted a new ordinance on July 1 limiting how many scooters can park in one place. It also limits speed among other restrictions. 

“Most of the providers have done their best to be cooperative and they were all around the downtown area proactively collecting devices so we didn’t have to, but there were too many for everyone to pick up with,” Lamb said.  

Among those who were Downtown working was Kimia Talebian - Lime's general manager 

“I’m really happy to be working with city,” she said. “At Lime, we like regulations. I live here too and am happy to work with the city.” 

Still Lime and other scooter companies may be left with a sour taste. The city is imposing a $65 fee for every scooter seized - totaling nearly $200,000. 

"It is quite a haul,” said Lamb. “It's a lot of money the city would rather not be collecting.”  

Credit: KFMB
This chart shows a breakdown of e-scooters impounded during Comic-Con by company and date collected.

The law limits how much the city can charge since they can't technically make a profit - just enough to cover the cost of workers - all on overtime - plus equipment.  

“We very much hope that the companies will be more proactive in the future. The city does not want to be in the business of impounding devices,” Lamb said.   

The city normally charges $1 for every day the impounded scooters remain, but they are waiving that due to the numbers of scooters. The e-scooter companies have 30 days to pick up their devices. 

News 8 reached out Bird and as of Monday they had not responded, nor had they been in contact with the city about their scooters. 

Lyft offered the following statement: 

“We value the collaborative relationship we have developed with the City of San Diego and will continue to work to ensure we are in line with agreed upon regulations.”

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