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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

14 mins ago - Health

CDC panel recommends Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up

Photo: Marco Bello/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A key panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for people 65 years old and older, as well as those at high risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: The approval is the near-final step in making the booster shots available to tens of millions of Americans, and comes a day after the FDA approved Pfizer boosters for the two groups. CDC director Rochelle Walensky is expected to accept the recommendation.

DHS temporarily suspends use of horse patrol in Del Rio

U.S. Border Patrol agents watch as Haitian immigrant families cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into Del Rio, Texas on Sept. 23, 2021. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday temporarily suspended the use of horse patrol in Del Rio, Texas a DHS spokesperson confirmed.

Why it matters: The suspension comes after images showing border patrol agents whipping at and charging their horses at migrants surfaced earlier in the week, prompting widespread criticism of the Biden administration's handling of the crisis at the border.

Southwest drought is worst on record, NOAA finds

In a stark new report, a team of NOAA and independent researchers found the 2020-2021 drought across the Southwest is the worst in the instrumental record, which dates to 1895.

Why it matters: They also concluded that global warming is making it far more severe, primarily by increasing average temperatures, which boosts evaporation.

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