By now, most folks in the Triangle have heard about the ongoing troubles scooter companies have been having in their attempts to operate electric scooter rental services in Raleigh, with one company claiming that it had to add an additional two dollars to its one-dollar base fee to recover the costs of the city’s regulations and fees.
According to a report by the NC Insider, Raleigh’s regulatory creativity has taken a strange turn (link to full story behind paywall):
Lime — one of the two scooter companies in Raleigh — has been attempting to register its scooters with the DMV as required by the city. But the company was told that since the scooters don’t have a vehicle identification number and don’t have a title, they are considered “personal mobility devices.”
So, the companies are being required by one bureaucracy to get something from another bureaucracy that the second bureaucracy tells them does not exist. While this snafu was most likely based on a simple oversight by Raleigh officials, it is so deliciously Kafkaesque that I almost hope it was done on purpose. In any case, as Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall said once said “the power to send to the DMV is the power to destroy”, or something like that.
For more background on the scooter kerfuffle, listen to this Civitas podcast from October 1. The scooter discussion starts at the 9:03 mark.