SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — After drawing the ire of San Francisco pedestrians, as well as city officials, powered scooters will be back on city streets next month, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced Thursday.

After reviewing at least 12 applications from companies seeking permits to operate shared powered scooters in the city, the SFMTA has decided to issue permits to companies Scoot and Skip on Oct. 15, under a one-year pilot program.

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According to SFMTA officials, Scoot and Skip put forward the strongest proposals, demonstrating a commitment to public safety, user education, equitable access and collaborating with the city and its communities.

“While no application was flawless, we selected only the applicants with the strongest proposals for this one-year pilot program.  Scoot and Skip demonstrated a high-level of commitment to our city’s values of prioritizing public safety, promoting equity, ensuring accountability and safeguarding shared, public spaces,” SFMTA’s Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said in a statement.

The permits come after the city’s Board of Supervisors unanimously passed legislation in April, requiring all companies operating powered scooters in the city to seek permits. The legislation was in response to a handful of scooter companies that had deployed hundreds of dockless scooters throughout San Francisco in late March.

One of those companies, Lime, formerly called LimeBike, issued a statement today upon learning its application had not been selected for the one-year pilot permit program.

“Today’s decision is disappointing. San Franciscans deserve an equitable and transparent process when it comes to transportation and mobility. Instead, the SFMTA has selected inexperienced scooter operators that plan to learn on the job, at the expense of the public good,” the statement said.

Lime, which already operates in ten other Bay Area cities, also in the statement accused the SFMTA’s permit process of being faulty.

“The SFMTA’s handling of the dockless bike and scooter share programs has lacked transparency from the beginning. We call on the Mayor’s Office and Board of Supervisors to hold the SFMTA accountable for the flawed permitting process.

“We plan to appeal this decision and will look for new ways to serve the people of San Francisco.”

Earlier this month, Mayor London Breed echoed similar sentiments when, in a letter to Reiskin, she said she was “seriously concerned about the lack of… an opaque process to select scooter pilot permit recipients.”

The SFMTA, however, has maintained that it’s permit process was a fair one and, to prove that, has made available information about the process and its applicants at www.sfmta.com/sharedscooters.

Under the one-year pilot program, the SFMTA will allow no more than 625 scooters per company within the first six months. After that, the companies can increase each of their fleets to as many as 2,500 scooters.

During the pilot period, SFMTA officials said they would be evaluating results and make adjustments accordingly.

 

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