Ofo applies for e-scooter scheme license in San Francisco

Uber Scooter Program

The permits allow a maximum of five companies to operate 500 scooters each in San Francisco for a yearlong pilot program.

Following a sudden popularity and lack of regulations on electric scooters in San Francisco, the city has recently created a program to regulate this new means of transportation and before then facing pressure for operational permit from the ride-sharing giants. Motivate is not on the list of San Francisco scooter applicants.

If Uber gets its way, it would be double-dipping in the bike-share market - in April it ponied up nearly $200 million for Brooklyn-based Jump, which operates about 425 dockless electric bikes in San Francisco and Washington, DC, and which will be participating in a pilot program in New York City's outer boroughs this summer. Ofo, which has its US HQ in San Francisco, had worked with the city's authorities for six months to try to secure a place in the pilot and complained about the process. The city will restrict the number of scooters to 1,250 for the first half of the year, and if things go well, that number could double up to 2,500.

They are also requiring companies or individual to provide a proposed service area as well as have a plan to address sidewalk parking and riding.

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The SFMTA has reacted to numerous complaints about scooters. "This permit program represents a thoughtful, coordinated and effective approach to ensure that San Francisco strikes the right balance".

Electric scooters can certainly be an eco-friendly way to get around town, with the cost to ride them as cheap as $0.15 per minute. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which is issuing the permits, said it will likely take until the end of June to finalize the permits. The companies also need to share trip data with the city and offer a plan for low-income riders.

Other more expected applications came in from Spin, Lime, and Bird, which were already operating in San Francisco until the city shut down operations last week. Scooter startup Skip, Bird, Lime and Spin are among the rivals battling for a share in the scooter-sharing service market.

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