SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Officials announced Thursday that the ubiquitous electric scooters in San Francisco will be removed from city streets in two weeks as a new permit process is implemented.
The city stressed the fast-tracked permit process is a pilot program and will be reassessed in 12 months.
But the timing for the scooter removal is unfortunate for the scooter companies, as June kicks off the summer tourist season in SF.
The scooters appeared out of nowhere seemingly overnight and quickly multiplied across the city.
But as of June 4th, the motorized scooters that have swarmed the streets and sidewalks will just as quickly disappear.
Many people KPIX spoke with were unhappy about the decision.
“That sucks! I don’t know what I will do!” exclaimed one person.
“It’s going to be a huge void,” said another.
“They are a superior form a transpiration,” insisted a third.
The good news for riders, some of whom credit scooter rentals with transforming transportation in the city, the moratorium is only temporary.
“As of June 4th, until such time the permit have been granted, the scooters should not be operating,” said City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
He announced the next step in regulating power scooters in San Francisco: an SFMTA-run fast-tracked permit system.
Beginning Thursday, scooter companies can apply for one of only five possible permits that will allow them to operate in the city. The total number of scooters available for use in San Francisco will be capped at just 2,500.
There are currently three scooter companies operating in San Francisco: Lime, Spin and Bird. And ride-share company Lyft is rumored to be getting into the scooter game.
But the city attorney said there is no guarantee any of them will get a permit.
“And I think the MTA director has made it quite clear that past behavior will be taken into account,” said Herrera.
He also said the companies will be held accountable for the conduct of its riders.
Riders KPIX spoke with Thursday admitted they don’t always follow the rules, which prohibit things like blocking pedestrian walkways and riding on sidewalks.
The city says those issues have prompted over 1,800 complaints.