Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Economy | By

Uber and Lyft's next big thing? Electric scooters you can rent

Uber and Lyft's next big thing? Electric scooters you can rent

Uber is looking to enter into the electric scooter business in San Francisco.

The permits are part of a one-year pilot program that will initially allow 1,250 scooters to operate in the city, and double the amount in six months.

Following a sudden popularity and lack of regulations on electric scooters in San Francisco, the city has recently created a program to regulate this new means of transportation and before then facing pressure for operational permit from the ride-sharing giants. According to a report from Axios, both Uber and Lyft have applied for permits under a San Francisco pilot program aimed at putting a cap on the number of shared scooters on city streets.

Sequel to SFMTA's plan to limit the number of permits to five, the only way more than five companies would participate in the service is through partnerships.

In San Francisco, both Uber as well as Lyft will compete for permits against other providers of electric scooter Lime, Bird and Spin. Other people complained that riders didn't follow the laws of the road and endangered pedestrians by riding on sidewalks and leaving the scooters wherever they felt like it - blocking parking spots, bike racks and wheelchair accesses. Uber applied as Jump, the electrical-assist bike-share company it acquired earlier this year. "This permit program represents a thoughtful, coordinated and effective approach to ensure that San Francisco strikes the right balance". The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency hopes to grant permits by the end of the month.

Operators that are given new scooter permits must provide user education in order to be insured, share trip information with the city, as well as have a private policy that offers plans for uses that are low-income.

Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Ofo's protracted application for a permit to run the city's first bike share scheme was rejected by authorities, meaning the U.S. scooter craze could be the bike company's chance to have a visible (bright yellow?) presence in the tech center.

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