San Francisco's decision is a wake-up call to scooter startups

Adjust Comment Print

On the same day, the city of San Francisco announced it had selected Scoot Networks and Skip to operate a total of 1,250 electric scooters.

You can see all of the gory details of how each of the 12 applicants scored on each of SFMTA's assessment's here.

The pilot program ranked a total of eight operators, including Cerritos-based Razor USA, which launched an electric scooter fleet in Long Beach on August 2 but was not selected for the pilot program because it wasn't deemed able to launch within 30 days of selection.

Both Scoot and Skip got strong marks for having a history of "complying with city regulations". San Francisco is a key market for e-scooters; for some of these companies, failing to receive a permit could mean the end of the road. After six months, they may be allowed to increase their numbers to 2,500.

Uber is jumping into the scooter wars
Uber to develop electric scooters in-house

The agency said that Scoot and Skip both submitted applications with a commitment to meet the terms of the permit, including descriptions of "detailed, unique and innovative" approaches.

Bird and Lime will launch the pilot with 750 scooters each in September. Other people complained that riders didn't follow the laws of the road and endangered pedestrians by riding on sidewalks and leaving the scooters wherever they felt like it - blocking parking spots, bike racks and wheelchair access.

The other companies denied a permit were HOPR, JUMP, Lyft, Ofo, Razor, Ridercell and UScooters.

On Thursday, San Francisco announced that it had picked two companies-Scoot and Skip-from among a dozen applicants for a test beginning on October 15.

More news: Trump says "no political necessity" to keep Canada in new NAFTA deal

Bird and Lime, along with smaller outfit Spin, were the first companies to roll out their vehicles in San Francisco, debuting without official sanction in April.

Chief executive of Bird Travis VanderZanden said the company is "honored to have called Santa Monica our home since we first launched shared electric scooters less than 12 months ago", and has "a shared mission of reducing congestion and emissions, and look forward to continuing partnering with the City and to serve our community".

But in a bit of good news, Uber's Jump subsidiary was granted a permit to operate electric scooters in the City of Santa Monica.

The SFMTA's scooter permit and pilot reflect the agency's data-driven method to better understanding how new mobility services impact the city and its communities. The only tidbit, for now, is the location of Uber and Jump's engineers: San Francisco.

More news: Google releases Titan Security Key

Bird says it is also adding alerts to its mobile app, through which customers find and unlock scooters, about local rules and safety policies.

City officials countered that a controlled and limited rollout was critical to ensuring that scooters were used as intended and didn't result in accidents or inconvenience. In fact, Public Works impounded scooters from both LIme and Spin as well.

An electric scooter service is being proposed for the city. The agency is recovering program costs through a $25,000 annual permit fee and by creating a $10,000 endowment per permittee to cover city costs associated with property fix and maintenance.

More news: Bobi Wine blocked from leaving Uganda to seek treatment

Comments