Lime users, employees speak out after company pulls out of Tempe

TEMPE, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- People are speaking out after officials with Lime say they will pull the plug on its electric scooter operations in Tempe.

Company officials say the new licensing fee imposed by the City of Tempe will cost them too much money, and they don't want to pass that cost on to their customers. The city imposed a new licensing fee that will charge companies like Lime $1.06 per day, per scooter. The city says they'll use that money for public outreach and police enforcement.

"Lately I've been using them everyday," said Cooper Sepulveda, whose car is in the shop. Lime scooters have been his only mode of transportation between Mesa and Tempe.

"I was doing the Ubers and the rideshare programs, but they just cost a lot, using them everyday, even short distances," said Sepulveda. "This cuts down the cost to half that. I pay $4 a day for transportation, it's not bad."

It's not just riders who say they will miss the scooters. Some Lime employees who charge the scooters overnight are also worried about making ends meet.

"I'm probably going to have to move out of Tempe because the scooters are going to be in other neighborhoods," said Edwin Young, who makes $10,000 charging the scooters. "I might have to move to Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler."

Some are worried that Lime's department will also take away a cheap transportation alternative.

"The public transportation system in Arizona is not the best, so if you're not by the light rail or if you're not by a bus stop, there's really not a whole lot of ways to get around," said ASU student Conner Hunt.

"It does take away a resource for people that don't necessarily have the income to buy a car or lease a vehicle," said Sepulveda.

City officials say two other scooter operators, Bird Razor, have submitted their applications for the new operating licenses.