Scooter Fleet Reallocation - Bird’s 1,500 permitted scooters to Lime and Spin
On February 17, 2023, Bird Global, Inc. (Bird), one of the three permitted Powered Scooter Share companies permitted by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), voluntarily surrendered their Permit and ceased operations in San Francisco. This reduced the availability of shared scooters in the City by 1,500 and may have negatively affected riders who depend on scooters for transportation. Bird, formerly Scoot Rides Inc, began providing service to the scooting public during the start of the Powered Scooter Share Pilot Program in 2018, and continued through February 17, 2023.
Lime and Spin are the two remaining permittees in the program, each with a fleet cap of 2,000 scooters. To ensure that the overall level of approved scooters in San Francisco is maintained and that the public continues to have access to shared scooters, the SFMTA will reallocate the 1,500 scooters previously permitted to Bird equally between Lime and Spin. Each company will receive an additional allotment of 750 devices, starting June 8, 2023, bringing their total fleet to 2,750 each.
The SFMTA recognizes the importance of having shared scooters available for the public, especially in underserved neighborhoods and for low-income and adaptive scooter programs. This device reallocation is consistent with the SFMTA's Strategic Plan, including the following Strategic Goals: 1) Identify and reduce disproportionate outcomes and resolve past harm towards marginalized communities; 5) Deliver reliable and equitable transportation services; and 6) Eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by increasing use of transit, walking, and bicycling.
Appendix 5 of the SFMTA Scooter Permit Terms and Conditions enumerates device distribution guidelines and requirements, which are based on the number of devices in operation. Pursuant to Appendix 5, with each addition of 500 devices, the neighborhood distribution requirements change.
Therefore, based on the expanded fleet size of 2,250 each for Lime and Spin, the new maximum threshold for scooters in the downtown core is 900, with no more than 40% of the fleet deployed in the downtown core. Permittees are expected to continue to service key neighborhoods (including Mission, Western Addition, Bayview-Hunter’s Point, Visitacion Valley, SFSU, Ingleside, and Excelsior) with 75% coverage 75% of the time between 6am and 10pm. The new minimum target of low-income memberships is now 1,125 memberships, based on guidance of one membership per 2 permitted scooters from the permit terms and conditions.
This fleet expansion is conditioned upon each permittee’s continued compliance with the Powered Scooter Share Permit Terms and Conditions, including the distribution requirements established in Appendix 5. SFMTA will continue to monitor compliance with Powered Scooter Share Permit Terms and Conditions through monthly reports, dashboards, and on-street enforcement officers.