Just a few months into San Francisco’s scooter permit pilot program, The City’s only two scooter operators, Scoot and Skip, have already shown one way in which they’re different:
Skip scooters have been slapped with far more parking tickets than Scoot.
That’s according to citation data provided by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates the e-scooter companies.
After several other companies, Bird, Lime and Spin, released scooters on city streets last March without permits, San Franciscans complained the electric-motor powered scooters were being driven recklessly on sidewalks and parked across walkways, posing a hazard for seniors, people with disabilities and all pedestrians.
To address those public concerns the SFMTA required the two companies eventually awarded permits to operate under a pilot program to develop training and other means to stop customers from parking scooters mid-sidewalk.
On that measure, so far it seems Scoot has the upper hand.
Skip has received 123 parking citations and Scoot just 36 since the two companies legally launched on San Francisco streets October 15, last year, according to SFMTA data. SFMTA allows just 625 scooters per company in its pilot program.
Many of Skip’s citations include the notation “obstructing pedestrian space,” whereas a few others say Skip’s scooters were “parked at corners in front of curb ramps” used for wheelchairs and strollers. Most of both companies’ citations were issued downtown or in the South of Market neighborhood.
A Scoot spokesperson told the San Francisco Examiner in a statement that it receives a low number of citations from the city in part because “we employ full-time fleet service technicians and do not rely on contract ‘juicers’ as do other companies. Our fleet service techs constantly monitor our vehicles.”
The data points to one other reason: locks.
In December, Scoot introduced cable locks for its scooters that can only be unlocked by phone app. Tracking with that timeline, SFMTA data shows Scoot received the majority of its citations — 26 — in October and November. After the locks were introduced in December, the number of citations issued to the company dropped to just ten between December and January.
“The addition of the infrastructure lock has not only dramatically decreased theft and vandalism, it has created a user experience that leads to orderly parking, resulting in fewer complaints and citations,” a Scoot spokesperson wrote.