The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) recently announced it has agreed to permanently allow four e-scooter companies into the city. According to officials, as many as 10,000 e-scooters could soon land on SF’s streets.
Here are the four companies the SFMTA awarded permits to:
When this program officially starts on October 15, 2019, each company will be allowed to place 1,000 e-scooters throughout San Francisco. Depending on how well each company performs, the SFMTA could allow them each to add as many as 2,500 e-scooters in different areas of the city.
Not only is San Francisco increasing the number of e-scooters, it’s also expanding the e-scooter program’s reach. To help those living in economically disadvantaged regions, all e-scooter operators must place 60 percent of their vehicles outside of Downtown.
This permanent program comes one-year after the SFMTA formally tested e-scooters with the companies Scoot and Skip. Safety officials say 311 complaints concerning e-scooters have fallen dramatically over the year and they feel confident about this expansion.
Not everyone, however, was so optimistic about this e-scooter expansion. In particular, leaders in Chinatown argue their district doesn’t have the proper infrastructure to handle all of these new devices.
In response to these complaints, the SFMTA pointed to stricter rules all e-scooter operators will now have to follow. For instance, it’s now mandatory for companies to install locking technology to their e-scooters. All four operators will also be required to pay $75,000 each to increase the number of bike racks on SF’s sidewalks.
Interestingly, bicyclist advocacy groups like the SF Bicycle Coalition are amongst the strongest supporters of this e-scooter expansion. Cycling safety advocates believe the increased number of rentable e-scooters will push lawmakers to create more bike-protected lanes.
Those interested in learning more about San Francisco’s e-scooter program should visit this official webpage put together by the SFMTA.