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On May 16, scooter company Lime submitted a protest letter challenging the city’s decision to recommend only scooter-company Bird to deploy in Meridian.

MERIDIAN — An e-scooter company unhappy with the city of Meridian’s process to choose a ridesharing company is asking the city to reconsider its decision.

Lime is appealing the city’s denial of its application to operate e-scooters in Meridian. The city instead is only considering a contract with e-scooter company Bird.

Both Lime and Bird operate in Boise and are looking to expand to Meridian. Lime did deploy scooters in Meridian last fall, pulled them from the street after six days at the city’s request to work out some kinks.

The city then set up a committee of staff and residents to review e-scooter companies’ proposals. Bird and Lime both responded to the city’s request for proposals for rideshare companies. The committee gave Bird a higher score, based on things like safety and customer service, and only recommended that the city enter a contract with Bird, not with Lime.

“The committee really only thought Bird was the appropriate vendor for the city,” city attorney Bill Nary said at the May 14 city council meeting.

On the committee’s 100-point scale, Bird averaged 88 points, while Lime averaged 69 points. Nary said the committee members thought there was a large enough score gap that they should solely recommend Bird, even though the city’s request for proposal was looking for up to two companies to deploy.

In a protest letter submitted May 16, Lime representative William Miller argues that one of the seven committee members, Emily Kane, was biased against Lime. Kane, Meridian’s deputy city attorney, awarded Lime only eight points out of 100.

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“This substantially lowered Lime’s score,” the letter states. “If Ms. Kane’s wildly divergent score is disregarded, Lime would have received an average score of 80.5 points from the other six evaluators.”

All committee members gave Lime a lower score than they gave Bird. Excluding Kane’s scores, the largest variance between the Lime and Bird was given by Meridian developer Josh Evarts, who gave Bird 90 points and Lime 74.

The city denied the protest letter on May 17, according to a notice of appeal Miller filed May 21. 

At Tuesday’s meeting Meridian City Council moved the hearing of Lime’s appeal to June 11 so Lime representatives would have time to review a records request from the city. Lime asked for emails and other documents related to the committee’s review of the proposals.

“I think we should have all (the information) done and ready before we have this discussion,” Councilman Ty Palmer said at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Editor's note: This story was updated Wednesday with new information from the Meridian City Council meeting on Tuesday. 

Patty Bowen is the Meridian Press reporter. You can reach her at pbowen@idahopress.com or follow her on Twitter @pattybowenMP.

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