What the dock!?
City transportation gurus served Brooklyn’s first docked e-scooter sharing company White Fox Scooters with a cease and desist letter on April 23, claiming that the out-of-state company illegally set up shop in the borough when city law does not yet allow for e-scooter sharing services.
Senior officials with the Department of Transportation sent a letter to the New Jersey-based firm’s founder and chief executive officer Siddharth Saxena, ordering him to immediately remove the battery-powered two-wheelers and their docking station at the William Vale hotel in Williamsburg — or else!
“It has been brought to our attention that White Fox Scooters, Inc. or your agents have commenced scooter share operation in the City of New York. Please be advised that electric scooters are illegal in New York City,” wrote DOT Assistant Commissioner Michelle Craven in the letter, obtained by Brooklyn Paper. “Accordingly, you are hereby directed immediately to cease and desist from any such electric scooter share operations.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo legalized the electric stand up scooters as part of the 2021 budget earlier this month, but the City Council still has to make them legal on a city level, according to DOT officials.
A spokesman for DOT did not immediately say whether White Fox faces any fines or other penalties for their Kings County incursion.
When reached for comment, Saxena was disappointed that his company’s venture across the Hudson was stymied by red tape after less than 10 days in operation, saying he thought his company was in the clear by only allowing the scooters to go from dock to dock, with all stations on private property like hotels and residential buildings and not on public streets.
“It’s a bummer,” Saxena said. “It was all confusing on our end because our legal counsel said we were good to go.”
The entrepreneur said he will remove the four scooters and the dock his company installed at the luxe hotel on April 14 but said that he will work with the authorities to return as soon as it’s legal.
“We’ll obviously be completely compliant with them,” he said.
Saxena also abandoned his plans to set up a second outpost at the Union Hotel in Gowanus this week, but he will try to get private partners to sign on to hosting his scooter docks in the future while he waits for city lawmakers to ratify Albany’s legislation.
“We may even sign on some private partners in the interim,” he said.