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Second scooter company rejected on appeal

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Examiner file photo (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Another e-scooter company hoping to operate in the City was just slapped down by San Francisco officials

Jump, an e-scooter company owned by Uber, was initially denied a permit to operate in San Francisco. It’s appeal to that decision was rejected by a neutral hearing officer Tuesday afternoon.

In its complaint, Jump alleged SFMTA did not grant it a permit in the e-scooter pilot program because the company is owned by Uber, which has frequently clashed with The City.

While the hearing officer ultimately disagreed with that allegation in his decision, he found ample reason to recommend Jump’s participation in future expansions to the powered scooter pilot program, which is run by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

In the statement of decision, James Doyle, an SFMTA hearing officer, recommended issuing a pilot program permit to Jump when and if the agency decides to expand participation in the program.

Uber was heartened by Dyole’s comments.

“We are encouraged by the recommendation that the SFMTA consider allowing JUMP to join the scooter pilot in April,” an Uber spokesperson wrote in a statement. “We also appreciate the hearing officer’s comments that our local bikeshare operations have been ‘exceptional,’ and we look forward to the opportunity to also bring our scooter services to San Francisco.”

Doyle’s response was similar to one issued in an appeal by a rival scooter company just last week.

All told, 12 companies applied for permits to operate an electrical scooter ride share program, of which 10 were rejected. Three rejected companies, Jump, Spin and Lime appealed the decision by requesting a hearing officer to review the merits of the denial.

Doyle, who reviewed and denied Jump’s appeal had also rejected Spin’s seven days earlier. The statements of decision for both companies include strong recommendations to allow participation in any second phase expansion of the pilot program.

Even so, the weight of Doyle’s recommendation is yet to be determined.

Ed Reiskin, director of transportation at the SFMTA, told the San Francisco Examiner that any possible decision to expand the program with more permits its still too far away to determine if Jump would ever be included, regardless of any appeals being filed.

The pilot program is scheduled to run for 12 months with an evaluation at the six month mark, two months from now. Regardless of the appeals, the SFMTA has yet to evaluate the performance of the two permit holding companies before determining to allow more companies to operate.

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