San Francisco is about to end its electric scooter scourge... for a while. The city's Municipal Transportation Agency has posted its permit application for companies wanting to operate e-scooters under a one-year pilot program and accompanying law, signalling that the two-wheelers need to leave the streets until services obtain permits. The firms have until June 4th to remove their scooters without facing impounding and fines (up to $100 per scooter), and have to submit their permit applications by June 7th. No more than five companies will operate at the same time during the pilot period.
Companies have to pay the SFMTA $5,000 to apply, and $25,000 per year to keep their permits going. They also have to pour $10,000 into a maintenance fund that will cover public property damage and storage for wayward scooters. To no one's surprise, any company found operating without a permit will automatically be denied a chance at a permit.
This initiative won't please residents who object to the scooters' very existence. You'll still have to dodge around them. Even so, the program and law promise to reduce at least some of the headaches associated with the unfettered scooters of recent months. They'll have to operate in certain areas, park scooters in places that won't disrupt traffic and tell customers to wear helmets. Although this is likely to have a limited effect (only so many people are going to bring head protection), it could end some of the chaos that has plagued San Francisco in recent weeks.