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Scooters vanish from SF streets as ban takes effect

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A man loads Lime scooters into a van along Market Street on Friday, June 1, 2018. City officials ordered scooter companies to pull their vehicles off city streets by deadline. The firms now have until June 7 to apply for a permit to operate in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

All three major e-scooter companies that deployed in San Francisco — Bird, Lime, and Spin — have confirmed their vehicles are now off San Francisco streets.

Late last month The City called for a temporary ban on the electric motorized scooters to begin on June 4, asking for the companies to comply until a permit program to regulate the scooter rental business is implemented.

Scooter companies now have until June 7 to apply for that permit.

Until those permits are granted, any “shared” motorized scooter found on city sidewalks after June 4 will be impounded and the operator will be subject to fines of $100 per scooter, per day, in addition to other penalties.

SEE RELATED: City orders companies to remove e-scooters from SF streets by June 4

No company has turned in a permit application yet, according to San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesperson Paul Rose.

San Franciscans have expressed both anger and appreciation for the e-scooters, which are available to rent by cellphone app, since they launched last month. The City received more than 1,800 complaints over riders illegally motoring down sidewalks and parking in walkways, according to The City Attorney’s Office. Others have praised the vehicles for providing a quick mobility solution that they view as a way to curb high-emission vehicle use.

Most of those scooters are now gone, however, after the companies pulled the bulk of them off the streets, Rose confirmed. Bird, Lime and Spin also confirmed to the San Francisco Examiner that they’ve taken most of their scooters off the streets.

In press statements, Spin said they’ve been “working diligently” to remove scooters from the streets, Lime spokesperson Joe Arellano said their scooters were removed from San Francisco Sunday and Bird said they are “optimistic” about SFMTA’s permit process.

Rose from the SFMTA warned, however, that some scooters that were disconnected from the scooter apps may still be left on San Francisco streets.

These remaining scooters may have been “remotely turned off” or ridden to San Francisco from other cities, Arellano clarified. SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin previously said scooter companies still in operation after June 4 would hurt their chances of obtaining a permit to operate. But Rose said “stragglers” won’t necessarily count against the companies.

“If it appears the company is still operating their business after the deadline, it could impact their application for a permit,” Rose said. However, “any reports of stragglers are likely due to disabled scooters that could not be located for pickup.”

SFMTA encourages members of the public to report any scooters still out on the streets to 311.

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