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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Skip

Skip hasn't yet dumped its e-scooters onto the streets of hometown San Francisco, instead quietly testing its service in Washington, D.C. while waiting for San Francisco to put a regulatory regime in place.

Bottom line: Skip is betting that its friendlier, play-by-the-rules approach will help put it ahead of competitors like Bird, Lime and Spin.

San Francisco is only giving e-scooter permits to five companies, but a dozen companies applied. Skip not only will compete against established e-scooter rivals, but also against ride-share giants Uber and Lyft.

Skip, formerly known as Waybots, tells Axios that its sales pitch is fourfold:

Safety for riders and everyone else: It will back, financially and otherwise, local organizations such as the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition focused on initiatives like adding more bike lanes. CTO Mike Wadhera says that riders usually ride (illegally) on sidewalks because they don't feel safe on the streets with cars.

  • The company will also spend up to $150,000 in the next 18 month on incentives like ride credits to get riders to safely park their scooters out of pedestrians' way. It's working on vehicle features that can encourage this, although Wadhera declined to share more.

Transparency and accountability: Skip is proposing that it form a community advisory council that would serve as a way for residents and city officials to regularly meet with its executives to address concerns.

  • Skip also would publish data about its customers, to encourage transparency and to encourage accessibility.

Employment: The startup will need people to repair and service its scooters, and wants to help create job training programs for disadvantaged groups.

  • Skip says these jobs will be as full company employees, not independent contractors, and that its trained mechanics would be able to work for any e-scooter company.

Experience: The executive team includes vets from companies like Uber and Airbnb, which have had their fair share of fights with San Francisco officials. They now position themselves as reformed.

  • "We are seeking out people who may have been part of companies that got some things wrong in the past but are eager to be in a company doing it the right way,” Wadhera said.

Bottom line: Some of its rivals have already established their brands in San Francisco and raised a lot of capital. But Skip doesn't believe it will be winner-take-all race, and that unlike ride-hailing a few years ago, playing by the rules will prove a positive differentiator.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Rideshare companies say driver shortage is pushing prices up

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's not just you: Uber and Lyft rides are more expensive, company executives said this week.

Why it matters: Demand for rideshare is roaring back as the economy starts to reopen, but the same can't be said for drivers on the apps. That means fewer cars on the road, causing a supply gap that's pushing up prices.

Pelosi slams GOP leadership's moves against Liz Cheney

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week condemned Republican efforts to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as House GOP conference chair.

Why it matters: A number of Democrats have spoken out against attempts to punish Cheney for her criticism of former President Trump, framing the discussion as one essential to the maintenance of American democracy.

What to watch in AMLO's meeting with Harris

Three Mexico national guardsmen stand in front of the metro overpass that collapsed onto a busy highway. Photo: Julián Lopez/ Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Joint efforts to stem the increased number of migrants heading to the U.S. will likely be at the top of discussions when Vice President Kamala Harris and Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador hold their virtual meeting on Friday.

The big picture: The U.S. government has consistently asked its southern neighbor to prevent immigrants from reaching the border, mostly through threats like former President Trump’s talk of tariffs.

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