The Return of Scooters to San Francisco
SFTMA is soon to announce a pilot program that would allow 5 out of 12 scooter companies to operate up to 2,500 scooters on San Francisco streets for a year. It will allow about 1,250 scooters on the streets for the first 6 months, and the rest after that, to the delight of San Franciscans who have been waiting for their return.
SFMTA initially expected to have a decision by July but because the department had gotten more applications than expected, Ed Reiskin, Director of Transportation for SFMTA said that the department will aim for a decision “very soon”.
“Electric scooters represent uncharted territory for SFMTA,” said Reiskin, “the pilot program would allow the city to evolve our approach…”
SF Chronicle reported that the permit application process include “past experience and compliance with applicable laws” as one of the qualifying criteria, which is potentially worrisome for Lyft and Uber, which have longstanding conflicts with City Hall over their services, and also possibly for Spin, Bird, and Lime – the high-profile scooter companies that started the craze and unwittingly “dumped” their scooters into the streets in April.
It was well-received in the city.
But complaints soon mounted over electric scooters littering the sidewalks which made it unpopular, although scooter lovers pointed fingers at vandals who they said pushed and kicked neatly parked scooters to create havoc.
Regardless, all the activity didn’t do much to win the hearts and minds of some city regulators, who are now about to make the decision on which 5 scooter companies to give permits to.
Lesser known companies are also crossing their fingers to get a piece of the city’s scooter action, waiting to grab a chance while the 5 most high-profile players are currently on the city’s “bad side”.