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Hundreds more electric scooters could soon land on SF streets

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More electric scooters could soon be on the way onto San Francisco streets if certain conditions are met by the two companies allowed to operate in The City.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors received a mid-point evaluation on Tuesday of its electric scooter pilot program that currently allows Skip and Scoot to each operate 625 scooters each in The City.

On Monday, SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin issued a policy directive allowing both Skip and Scoot to increase its fleet size for each company if certain conditions are met.

One of the conditions both companies will have to meet is to sign up 150 users to its low-income discount programs in order to increase its fleet size by 175 scooters for each company.

Another condition would require all scooters to have a “lock-to” device so users can park the scooters properly. Leung said both companies have already met this requirement.

If the specific conditions are met, it would allow each company to increases its fleet size from 625 to 800 scooters.

Adrian Leung, the SFMTA policy and evaluation lead for the pilot program, said a total of 68 users have signed up for the low-income program with Scoot and 78 users have signed up with Skip.

The demographics of users also show a disproportionate percentage of riders — 63 percent — were white while 68 percent had a household income of more than $100,000.

Each company will also need to have at least 425 out of 625 scooters available to the public 25 out of 30 consecutive rolling days.

If Scoot and Skip want to increase their fleet size further to 1,250 scooters, they will have to sign up 500 users their low-income discount programs and maintain an equitable distribution of scooters in The City.

The electric scooter companies will have to maintain at least 20 percent of its fleet in low-income neighborhoods and 20 percent in the southeast portion of The City.

For the remainder of the pilot program, transit officials said they will not consider any additional applicants.

Both companies began operations last October and were the two companies that the SFMTA awarded permits for operations in The City last August.

Before any permit process or regulations were place, other electric scooters began operating last year in March, including LimeBike, Bird and Spin.

Complaints began rolling into The City’s 311 system and supervisors began receiving complaints about the scooters blocking sidewalks, improperly parked, and users riding on the sidewalk.

Since the pilot program, complaints have decreased with data showing a total of 624 complaints of scooters improperly parked and 69 complaints for riding improperly from October 2018 through February 2019.

It’s a far cry of the nearly 2,000 complaints SF 311 received in the spring last year in a six-week period from April to May, said Leung.

The pilot program ends on Oct. 15. From there, transit officials will decide whether or not to continue the program.

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