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San Francisco aims to issue electric scooter permits next month

Twelve applications are under review.
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Mario Tama via Getty Images

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) said this week that it is aiming to issue electric scooter permits next month, and the staff who have been reviewing the 12 permit applications will make their recommendations in the coming weeks. The move to require permits came after Bird, Spin and LimeBike unveiled their e-scooter sharing programs earlier this year, resulting in hundreds of scooters peppering public areas and taking up sidewalk space. They quickly became a nuisance and in April, the city told the three companies that they had to remove their scooters from the streets. Permit applications opened up soon thereafter.

Companies seeking a permit to operate in the city had to submit an application by June 7th, and the SFMTA has been reviewing the dozen applications it received, assessing them for safety, sustainability, access, accountability, financial impact and other measures. Up to five companies will be selected to participate in a year-long pilot program that will evaluate the scooters and their impact. As many as 1,250 scooters may be allowed to operate in San Francisco during the first six months of the trial, and depending on how things play out, an additional 1,250 may be approved for the last half of the trial period.

Once the final firms are selected, the SFMTA will work with them to finalize and clarify the permit terms and conditions. Permits should be issued in August.

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