Jun 3, 2024 - News

San Francisco grants Lime and Spin new operating permits

orange scooter

A Spin scooter in Mission Bay last month. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

San Francisco is sticking with two familiar operators for its scooter share program: Lime and Spin, the only companies that applied for permits.

Why it matters: Shared electric scooters have been controversial since they first appeared in 2018, but the city hopes that requirements around sidewalk riding and accessibility will address some key complaints among residents.

State of play: The SFMTA recently granted electric scooter companies Lime and Spin new two-year permits, beginning July 1, to continue operating their fleets in the city.

  • As part of the program, companies must ensure their scooters have sidewalk-riding detection technology and fleets must have adaptive vehicles, with features like seats, baskets or backrests, for riders with mobility impairments.
  • "The result: increased safety and accessibility," Matthew Thompson, a transportation planner with the SFMTA, wrote in a blog post.

By the numbers: In April, Lime and Spin operated a combined 3,120 vehicles.

  • The SFMTA has determined each company can deploy 2,750 scooters which will enable operators to "provide adequate levels of service" throughout the city.
  • In the city's evaluation process on factors like price, sustainability and more, Spin scored a 77 while Lime scored a 73.

Between the lines: Amid concerns around fire safety hazards associated with electric mobility vehicles, San Francisco updated its fire code in March to implement new regulations for charging and storing lithium-ion batteries.

  • SFMTA said it will continue working with the city's fire department as well as companies to ensure they comply with lithium-ion battery regulations.

What to watch: SFMTA is also trying to beef up its scooter safety campaigns, educating riders about the hazards of riding on the sidewalk, speeding and "double riding," where more than one person rides on a scooter.

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