Boston by Segway, a North End tour company that has been fined a total of $200,000 for allegedly operating on sidewalks and private property, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to a $390,000 debt.
Regardless, the company, which leads groups on guided Segway tours through the city, has no intention of slowing down.
"We continue to do tours every day," Boston by Segway Public Relations Director Allan Danley said Thursday.
So far this year, the Boston Segway tour company has led roughly 34,000 people on tours; last year it led roughly 50,000.
The company has been fined a total of $200,000 over the past two years for operating on sidewalks and driveways, violating a 2011 city ordinance that restricts the tour-vehicles to public streets.
The company has also been accused of leading oversized tours.
"It’s obvious that they have no respect for the law," said City Councilor Salvatore LaMattina, who filed the ordinance.
"I have no problem with Segways, I just don't want them on sidewalks, particularly in the North End, as it's very congested there."
LaMattina said officials have been grappling with complaints from residents for years, including one instance in which the company was allegedly instructing tourists how to use the Segways on a sidewalk, forcing pedestrians to walk in the street.
"It was crazy getting out of hand," he said.
Danley argued that the city is unjustly singling out the company due to discrimination against Segways, under the guise of public safety, and is making it virtually impossible to take tours close to historical sites.
"I think it's more safe (for segways) to be on the sidewalk than on the streets. ... There is no public safety issue. Nobody has ever been hurt," said Danley. "They're better off just saying, 'I don't like Boston by Segway.'"