Scoot seeks permanent status for shared mopeds

After two years of following the rules set out by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation in a trial program, the electric shared-moped company Scoot Networks wants to know the next steps.

Last Friday, Scoot officials got a taste of what could be coming in a form of a permit program for shared-electric mopeds.

The SFMTA has been running a trial program since Aug. 2015, where the transit agency allows Scoot members to park the red electric mopeds at curb spaces that are less than 8 feet wide in residential parking permitted areas. Members of Scoot can also park in motorcycle stalls in-between metered car stalls, but users must pay the parking meter.

Andy Thornley, a senior analyst with the SFMTA Sustainable Streets Division, said that, for most part, the mopeds have not been a problem on city streets, but said the company wanted to know the future of the trial program.

Thornley told the SFMTA Policy Governance Committee that the transit agency cannot keep going with the trial program as an experiment, which is why he presented the committee with a permit program proposal for shared-electric mopeds.

He added that Scoot meets many of the criteria set forth by the SFMTA principles for emerging transportation services including meeting clean air and congestion goals:

“As a congestion relief measure, it seems to us this is a good thing. It’s certainly taking up less parking, taking up less lane space.”

The permit program proposal from the SFMTA staff would charge Scoot an estimated fee of $235 per vehicle, per year, that would allow users of Scoot to park in motorcycle stalls for an unlimited time without paying the parking meter and exempting members from paying the meter while parked in-between metered car stalls.

SFMTA staff is working on finalizing a permit fee, said Thornley.

The proposed permit program would still retain the 8-foot rule in residential parking permitted areas where users can park the electric mopeds, though Scoot wants that exemption lifted in the proposal.

Eli Saddler, head of network operations and public affairs for Scoot, said of the proposal:

“We think it’s going to be a monumentally different operation for Scoot and keep them moving as much as possible. At the end of the day that’s our goal. We’re not in the Scoot parking business, we’re in the Scoot moving business.”

Scoot has 22,700 members and 750 vehicles available for rent to its members, according to Saddler.

Thornley said he plans to bring a proposal to the SFMTA Board of Directors in June.