In two weeks, San Francisco will ban any companies renting out shared, dockless scooters unless they have a permit

  • Starting on June 4, San Francisco will ban all scooters unless they have a permit.
  • The SFMTA hopes to give out permits by the end of June, meaning that scooters will only be off the streets for a short period next month.
  • Under the new permit guidelines, five companies will be given permits for up to 500 scooters each.

Starting on June 4, San Francisco is will ban all shared, dockless e-scooters in the city unless the companies operating them have a permit.

Permit applications, which will be given to five companies for 500 scooters each in a yearlong pilot program, opened up on Thursday and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency hopes to give them out by the end of June, meaning that scooters will only be banned for a short period next month.

“We can have innovation, but it must keep our footpaths safe and accessible for all pedestrians,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said at the press conference Thursday.

The city voted to slap the three scooter companies operating in the city – Bird, LimeBikes, and Spin – with regulations after several residents complained about how the scooters were routinely blocking or being ridden on footpaths. Additionally, each company gave city officials little-to-no-notice they were launching their shared, dockless services in the city, drawing criticism from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Each scooter service works the same way. Using a smartphone app, city residents can reserve a nearby scooter, ride around on it for a small fee, and, at the end of the journey, leave the scooter anywhere to be claimed by the next rider.

The scooter business appears to be an attractive space for newcomers. At least three other companies, including ride-hailing company Lyft, have make it clear they also want to vie for one of the five permits the city is granting.

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