From the 12 companies hoping to participate in the city’s scooter-sharing pilot programme, San Francisco has picked two lucky startups, and none of them what we would consider major players in the industry.
through San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA), the city has chosen Scoot Networks and Skip bypassing Bird Rides and Lime – the two better-known operators most responsible for the trend of the electric vehicles buzzing along nation’s streets and sidewalks.
Other players like ride-hailing giants Uber Technologies and Lyft also got a no from transportation authority for the scooter-sharing programme.
Both companies have revealed plans in recent months to add bike- and scooter-sharing services to their ride-hailing apps, but have not yet launched scooters in any cities.
The rejection from their hometown was a blow, especially for Uber, which already operates a bike-sharing service in San Francisco through Jump Bikes, a startup it bought in April.
The SFMTA ranked all of the applicants on a range of factors, such as how well they educate users on safe riding practices, their experience operating logistics businesses, and how they’ll ensure their scooters are redistributed to low-income residential areas. Bird and Razor performed the worst on the SFMTA’s matrix.
Both Scoot and Skip will be authorised to put as many as 625 scooters on the road for six months starting on Oct 15, the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency said on Thursday in a statement. The agency may let the companies put out as many as 2,500 scooters after the first six months of the one-year test, it said.
On the other hand, in Bird’s home turf in Santa Monica, regulators seemed to be far moreaccomodating. Lime, Lyft, Jump, and Bird were all given permission to operate in the town, as part of a 16-month trial beginning next month.
California also, announced that Bird, Lime, Uber and Lyft would be given permits to operate in that city’s scooter-share pilot project. Bird and Lime each will be allowed to distribute 750 scooters, while Uber and Lyft can each distribute 250, beginning on Sept 17.