San Francisco Invites Thousands Of More E-Scooters Onto Streets

Holly Quan
September 26, 2019 - 10:09 am
Motorized Scooters

Motorized Scooters (Photo credit: KCBS Radio)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (KCBS Radio) — The number of electric scooters in San Francisco will nearly double next month after transportation officials approved a new round of permits to four companies.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced Wednesday that Jump, Lime, Scoot and Spin all won permits to operate citywide in the second phase of the city’s e-scooter program.

The new set of permits, which go into effect on Oct ober 15, allow for up to 4,000 scooters total with options for rental companies to increase their allotment to up to 2,500 scooters each over 12 months. 

In total, 10,000 of the devices could appear on city streets and sidewalks. 

Currently, Scott and Skip are licensed to deploy up to 2,100 scooters total in the city under a pilot program that has resulted in a major drop in complaints of reckless riding and parking, There was an intially chaotic period where rental companies deluged city streets with scooters.

Companies will now also be required to extend service areas and scatter scooters in neighborhoods like the Bayview, Excelsior, Inner Richmond and Inner Sunset, with no more than 40% of any fleet allowed downtown and in SoMa.

It is good news for Joe Tofani who rides a scooter to various construction jobs, such as building Chase Center.

“They’ll be easier to find for everyone pretty much wherever you go,” said Tofani. “When I was working at Chase, down past the ballpark there was pretty much nothing down there. So hopefully they can spread it out.”

But he understands why people have concerns about potentially quadrupling the number of scooters in the city.

“When I drive in the city I’m not a fan of people riding in the road either,” he said. “When you’re the driver, you’re annoyed by everybody, and when you’re not, you’re annoyed by the drivers. I personally stay off the sidewalk.”

The city stands to make about $300,000 from the new slate of permits, some of which will go towards installing new racks for scooter parking.