The scooters are back in town.
Three months after ejecting the networks of shared, sidewalk-cluttering vehicles from the city, officials with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced today the two winners of its e-scooter pilot sweepstakes: Scoot and Skip.
The city chose the companies from a crowded field of 12, which submitted a collective 800 pages in proposals on their operations, safety, and plans to extend the scooter bounty to San Francisco's neighborhoods. Skip and Scoot now have the right to operate at least 625 scooters each in the city—a number that could eventually double. Scooter lovers, mark your calendars: The agency says it will finalize the companies’ permits by October 15 at the latest. They'll be good for a year.
Conspicuously not among the chosen few: Bird, Lime, and Spin, which launched scooter service in SF last March, without formal approval from the powers at be—kicking off the hysteria that prompted the city to step in.
SFMTA officials insisted, however, that the unapproved launch methods weren’t solely responsible for the companies losing out on prized permits. “Prior experience was one of the criteria, but overall no single factor made the decision for us,” Jamie Parks, who oversees the agency's Livable Streets initiative, told reporters. Instead, the companies’ proposals got dinged for failing to provide sufficient rider training, scooter rebalancing to fit demand, and service in areas typically underserved by transit. . . .