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City says new e-scooter company in Waikiki is operating illegally

House Bill 147 would create a new category specifically for e-scooters
House Bill 147 would create a new category specifically for e-scooters(Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Feb. 19, 2021 at 6:26 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new electric scooter company in Waikiki is challenging city laws.

The city says it supports alternate modes of transportation and mobility provided they are safe and legal. However, city officials say Go X is operating in Honolulu illegally.

“The City does not consider electric foot scooters legal to be operated on public roads in Honolulu, and that’s why we are seeking the state legislation,” said Travis Ota, with the city’s Department of Transportation Services.

Ota says Honolulu’s current law classifies e-scooters as mopeds – which require a license plate, a registration, and a safety check.

House Bill 72 would create a new category to make regulations specific to e-scooters.

The city says, “Without this bill, this viable transportation solution will remain illegal.”

Go X CEO Alexander Debelov said he has been researching Hawaii laws for about a year before arriving in Honolulu.

“We only partner with businesses, they’re only left on private property. We have a team to make sure that they’re never left on city property, they’re never stored, rented, or even displayed on public property. We made sure that these vehicles can comply with all the traffic regulations and everything,” Debelov said.

Debelov says some Waikiki businesses are willing to have the scooters on their property in return for a cut of the profits.

The scooters costs one dollar to unlock then 25-cents a minute after that.

Idaho visitor Claire Farmer says it’s convenient.

“We haven’t ridden them yet, but we just downloaded the app and we’re about to. It’ll be a lot better than walking,” Farmer said.

Police sources say they will impound scooters left on public property. Debelov says the company works hard to prevent that.

“We’re working with the police and we’re working with a lot of different associations, and the reason why they haven’t come and confiscated them or seized them is because what we’re doing is completely legal,” said Debelov.

Some residents say they don’t mind the scooters, as long as they are picked up.

“They’ve been pretty well behaved. There’s only been a few abandoned ones, and now I learned they actually have a car that goes around and picks them up which is good,” said Waikiki resident David Moskowitz.

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