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Powered Scooter Share Permit Program

SFMTA.com/ScooterPilot

2021 Scooter Share Permit Issuance

The SFMTA has opened applications for the next round of Powered Scooter Share permits. The current permits for operators expire in June 2021 and the next round will go into effect as soon as the current permits expire.

The SFMTA expects to issue approximately three scooter permits to applicants that meet San Francisco’s high standards for safety, equity and accountability. We anticipate announcing successful applicants in spring 2021, and the new permits will take effect on July 1, 2021.

New permits will be effective for an approximately one-year term, with the option to extend for another year at the discretion of the SFMTA. We will establish a cap on the number of authorized scooters – anticipated to initially be between 1,000 and 2,500 scooters per permittee. As of April 2021, the three current permittees are allowed to operate the following numbers of scooters

  • Lime up to 2,000
  • Spin up to 2,000
  • Scoot up to 1,500

About the Application

All interested operators are encouraged to apply by the final deadline on March 31, 2021. Candidates are encouraged to submit clarifying questions in writing to ScooterShare@SFMTA.com by 12 p.m. on March 9th, which will be addressed in a Question and Answer Session on March 12th. Applications will be evaluated against a standardized evaluation scorecard to determine the strongest proposals.

The Permit Application for the SFMTA’s Powered Scooter Share Permit Program and accompanying guidance documents can be found on the SFMTA website. See blog post for more information.

2021 Scooter Share Permit Survey and Community Engagement

The SFMTA hosted an online survey beginning in December 2020 through the end of January 2021 to solicit feedback from the community to help staff refine the next round of permit requirements. The survey was available in English, Chinese, Russian and Spanish, and included questions regarding demographics, community engagement, mode choice, and the adaptive program. Full details on the survey can be found in the Report for 2021 Scooter Share Permit Issuance.

The survey results indicated that stakeholders preferred to have regular SFMTA-facilitated meetings with scooter permittees open to the public was the preferred community engagement method, followed by continuous public online forums  Given the clear interest in more transparency, SFMTA now posts dashboards providing the public with information about scooter trip levels, complaints and enforcement activities.

As part of the new permit term, SFMTA will look closely at how applicants support existing community structures of advocacy and empowerment, while simultaneously working toward mobility justice goals to ensure equitable access, particularly for communities that have not been historically well-served.

Survey Findings

The SFMTA’s analysis of survey results yielded several interesting findings.

  • For example, 22 percent of all scooter user survey respondents indicated that they would have driven their private vehicle or taken Uber of Lyft on their last trip had a scooter not been available.
  • Trips have also shifted from public transit to scooters, which can be considered in a positive light in the current pandemic context, as 25 percent of respondents would have taken their most recent trip on public transit if the scooter service was not available.
  • A majority of survey respondents reported using scooters because of their convenience, 23 percent of scooter trips were taken to or from public transit, and 72 percent used a scooter on their most recent trip for work, school, or shopping.

Adaptive Scooter Program

Equity and disability access are two cornerstones of the SFMTA’s Guiding Principles for Emerging Mobility Services. This is one reason the SFMTA required an adaptive pilot program to expand access to riders with disabilities, and the new permit will require that adaptive scooters are a permanent fixture. In the permanent program, adaptive devices must comprise at least 5 percent of the fleet and they must be available through the company’s mobile application. New adaptive scooter requirements were developed with input from the disability community, and the survey responses helped identify which features of an adaptive scooter are most useful. Updated metrics on tracking and reporting will also be required.

Links for information about the current permittees’ adaptive scooter programs:

Lime

Spin

Scoot

Project Introduction

 

Report Improper Riding or Parking

2019 Permit Program

The 2019-2020 Powered Scooter Share Permit Program incorporates lessons learned from the 12-month Powered Scooter Share Pilot as well as the SFMTA’s 18-month Stationless Bikeshare Permit Program with the goal of create a more useful, safe, and equitable citywide program.

The current program provides strong guidance and clear requirements regarding key issues such as the parking requirements, distribution of devices, operational sustainability, community engagement processes and data sharing and rider accountability.

As directed in the 2019-2020 Powered Scooter Share Permit Program memorandum dated September 27, 2019, the current Powered Scooter Share Program began on October 15, 2019, when the SFMTA issued permits to four companies, Spin, Scoot, Lime, and Jump, to operate for a one-year term. Key requirements of the Powered Scooter Share Program include:

  • All scooters must have a lock-to device
  • Clear parking guidelines and parking enforcement
  • Complaints database
  • Low-income plan
  • Bike rack fee
  • Adaptive Scooter Pilot
  • Community Engagement Plan
  • Labor Harmony Provision

On August 18, 2020, the SFMTA Board approved a six-month permit term extension until April 2021 to allow permittees time to recover from the emergency shutdown and expand as part of the SFMTA’s Transportation Recovery Plan.

There are currently three Scooter Share permittees in operation:

  • Lime
  • Scoot
  • Spin

Powered Scooter Share Enforcement

SFMTA deploys field Investigators to respond to 311 and other constituent complaints about scooters. SFMTA Investigators are authorized to issue parking citations to scooter share companies for devices not parked according to the parking requirements. The citation for an improperly parked scooter is $100 per occurrence. SFMTA provides information about Scooter Share complaints, citations issued and citations paid on the public dashboards.

While SFMTA staff cannot issue citations for sidewalk riding (this is a moving violation and therefore under the authority of the SF Police Department), SFMTA takes these complaints seriously and follows up with Scooter Share permittees about all complaints. Each permittee is required to log sidewalk riding complaints and follow up with their riders to emphasize safe riding behavior.

Other compliance and enforcement measures include biweekly meetings with the Scooter Share permittees and SFMTA staff and extensive reporting requirements. Administrative citations up to $500 per infraction may be issued for failure to comply with the permit terms and conditions.


2018 to 2019 Pilot Program

SFMTA conducted a Scooter Share pilot program, from mid-October 2018 to mid-October 2019. Two companies, Scoot and Skip, were issued permits and were allowed to operate a maximum of 625 scooters for the first six months and up to a maximum of 1,250 upon meeting certain equity-based criteria. To provide transparency and insight into the agency’s evaluation and decision-making process, the SFMTA has made public a variety of pilot-related information and materials, including the Mid-Pilot Evaluation and policy memo, which provided important insights to the SFMTA about the pilot. The transition from the pilot to full permit program benefitted from many lessons learned and input from the community. Key program updates from the pilot to the full program include improved reporting requirements, the requirement to have a locking device on the scooter, the adaptive pilot, and equity requirements such as the low income plan.

Revised 12.17.2020

    Project Timeline 
    Key Stakeholder Engagement
    on-going
    Pending
    SFMTA Board approve scooter share-related Transportation Code Amendments
    completed
    Pending
    Publish permit application
    completed
    Pending
    Evaluate applications
    March-April 2021
    Pending
    Announce Permittees
    June 2021
    Pending
    New permit starts
    July 2021
    Pending
    Contact Information
    Sarah Hellman