Scoot runs a shared electric Vespa-like scooter program in the city already and a bike-share program in Barcelona, while Skip offers shared electric scooters in Washington, D.C., and Oakland, Calif.
After three months of studying applications, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) said Thursday that only two companies would get the permits: Skip and Scoot. Two smaller, lesser-known companies beat out the ride-hailing giants Uber (which owns Jump) and Lyft, as well as scooter specialists Bird and Lime, which each have raised hundreds of millions of dollars.
Santa Monica, which has had its own battles with scooter companies, announced Thursday that it was issuing permits to a variety of bike and scooter companies for a new, monitored rollout that begins September 17.
Each company is allowed 625 scooters for the first six months; while the total can be increased after to 2500, from 1,250.
LimeBikeDockless scooters are coming back to San Francisco. Prior to the approval, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved legislation that made it illegal for companies to operate scooters on city streets without a permit from the SFMTA. A recent death in Cleveland – where a vehicle hit a scooter rider – has put a spotlight on scooter safety concerns. “Scoot and Skip put forth the strongest applications the SFMTA received”, the city said in a statement.
Scooters have become a controversial topic in the Bay Area.
“A Council permit will require Lime Technology to ensure that scooters meet safety requirements”.
Skip’s application drew strong scores for keeping sidewalks clear of scooters, equitable access and community outreach.
Skip said they would have swipe screens inform users of safety training, provide free in-person classes, and have field staff approach users who exhibit unsafe behavior.
Electric scooters have also earned popular derision: a now-deleted Instagram account called “Bird Graveyard” collected photos and videos of scooters being burned, smashed and thrown out to sea by people frustrated by how quickly the zippy devices have taken over public space.
According to the company’s founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden, Bird’s scooters and bike sharing service is part of an initiative to promote clean transportation. The one outlier was San Francisco, where only a slim majority (52 percent) approve of these scooters.
City officials have been struggling with how to regulate the onset of the dockless scooters, which started arriving in California last fall. “We’re happy with the outcome”. Users find, unlock and pay for them using an app.
Uber this year has been laying the groundwork for its shift to bikes and scooters, including by buying NY bike-sharing company Jump for $200 million in April, and investing in startups such as San Mateo-based scootersharer Lime over the summer.
Bird placed 10th out of 12 scooter companies. Scooters left on public property can and may be confiscated. 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.