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'Juicers' keep the downtown Tampa scooter craze up and running, and make a little cash too

Posted at 11:15 PM, Jun 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-14 10:32:39-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A lot of people are asking how the new e-scooters on the sidewalks of downtown Tampa are staying charged.

We rode along with a so-called scooter "juicer" with Lime to find out.

The scooter competition in downtown Tampa is fierce. Multiple members are vying for you to download their app and start riding. Each company charges the batteries on their scooters differently.

RELATED: E-Scooters new way to scoot along streets of downtown Tampa

Lime uses contract workers, regular people like you and me, to scour the streets for scooters low on battery or out of range and pay them to pick them up.

"I typically just drive around or just hang out and wait until they show up," Paul Venghaus said.

Venghaus drives for Lime. If he doesn't have anything to do, he will fire up his app and try to make some extra cash.

"I'd say in a good day probably about 50 bucks an hour," Venghaus said.

The money is all getting put into savings. Venghaus and his wife are saving as much as they can to hopefully one day open up a coffee shop.

"It's not a full-time gig," Venghaus said. "It gives me the flexibility to kind of come out when I want to."

The company lingo is that Venghaus first "harvests" the scooters. Then takes them to his home to "juice" them. Once they are charged, he puts them back at their hub locations in downtown Tampa.

Venghaus admits wrangling scooters lining the sidewalks has made for an exciting side job.

"One day I was loading them, and a guy was walking, and he stopped and asked me if I was stealing all the scooters," Venghaus said. "It's kind of like I feel like the Grinch that stole the scooters."

Venghaus earns $4 per scooter that needs a charge and $2 to move them back into their hubs in Tampa. He said he's seeing more and more scooters farther from downtown.

On our ride along with Venghaus, there was a scooter that was all the way by Tampa International Airport.