San Francisco tackles electric scooter issue with permit process

Brittany A. Roston - May 25, 2018, 6:47 pm CDT
San Francisco tackles electric scooter issue with permit process

San Francisco has announced a new permit process for electric scooters in the city, one that requires companies to temporarily remove their electric scooters until they have their permit. The permit availability was announced by City Attorney Dennis Herrera, San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, and SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin in a joint statement yesterday.

The permit process and requirement is part of a law that was passed on April 24, 2018. Under it, companies operating shared electric scooters in San Francisco need to get a permit before parking their vehicles in public spaces, including on sidewalks. These companies will need to remove their scooters from the sidewalks by June 4 when the change goes into effect.

According to the SFMTA, companies that want a permit must submit their application by June 7 at 5PM local time. The permit application is now available online for these companies to access. Whether any given applicant will be granted a permit is up to the SFMTA, which will be reviewing applications it receives over the next couple weeks.

A max of five companies will be granted permits during a 12-month trial period during which the SFMTA will gather data and assess the system. The permit application won’t be a simple one. In it, companies must show city officials how they’ll minimize the impact their scooters have on city sidewalks while also maximizing their transparency to the public.

To get a permit, companies need to be insured, give the city trip data, offer user education and a privacy policy, give a low-income option, and present a service area plan. Of the initial 12-month pilot, only 1250 scooters will be authorized during the first six months. Following that, the number will increase up to 2500.


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