A man rides a new Skip e-scooter through UN Plaza on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

A man rides a new Skip e-scooter through UN Plaza on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Bayview merchants say neighborhood lacks e-scooters, blame Scoot

Bayview merchants say e-scooter company Scoot is breaking its promise to distribute scooters equitably across neighborhoods including theirs.

“We would prefer these companies to hold up to what they’re offering to the community,” said April Spears, proprietor of Auntie April’s Chicken, Waffles & Soul Food Restaurant on Third Street.

When the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency approved its Powered Scooter Pilot Program in August, it awarded the much sought-after e-scooter permits to two companies, Scoot and Skip. As part of the deal, The City designated service areas, and Scoot was given part of the Bayview to serve.

Merchants along the Third Street corridor now allege Scoot is failing to hold up its end of the bargain.

The group Economic Development on Third, is focused on making the corridor a vibrant economy, and its corridor manager Earl Thomas said scooters have a large role to play in that. Scoot, however, needs to increase the number of its scooters available.

“Here’s my issue: The SFMTA gave them a permit to operate based on their narrative of equity,” he said, but “ever since their press conference, which was two weeks ago, the number went down rapidly.”

SFMTA has mandated that 20 percent of scooters should be distributed to underserved communities, as part of the pilot program. In a statement, Scoot said it is meeting that goal.

“Each morning Scoot’s deployment team ensures that underserved communities, such as the Bayview, have equitable access to kick scooters on a daily basis,” said Scoot CEO Michael Keating. “We regularly meet or exceed the mandated 20 percent deployment requirements defined by the SFMTA permit for underserved communities.”

Even if Scoot’s numbers are accurate, other data may show where the problem lies: Private transit advocates have long said the SFMTA didn’t allow enough e-scooters on the street, period. The agency only allowed 1,250 e-scooters from both companies, total, to dot city neighborhoods.

That means Scoot only has 625 e-scooters to see distributed between Hayes Valley, part of the Mission, South of Market, the Financial District, Mission Bay, South Beach, the Dog Patch, and Bayview.

The merchant’s concerns join a chorus of complaints from Supervisors Malia Cohen and Ahsha Safai, who have demanded scooter equity for the southern San Franciscan neighborhoods they represent. The complaints also mirror that of rival e-scooter company Lime, which sought an injunction to halt the pilot program after it was not awarded an SFMTA permit and has since criticized the process, the availability of e-scooters and the competency of its competitors.

Still, Thomas wants SFMTA to ensure the companies are distributing even that limited number of scooters evenly into the Bayview. Screenshots he shared of Scoot’s availability show a dearth of the motorized vehicles available near Third Street, but swells of them available elsewhere in The City.

“Who from the MTA is monitoring this? I’m monitoring it! How does MTA know they’re living up to the bargain of equity?” Thomas said.

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said they would hold Scoot accountable for its distribution, once they obtain data from the company.

“We are currently obtaining the data to ensure that the scooters are being distributed equitably,” he said in a statement. “We understand that making scooters available to everyone will require a true willingness on the part of the operators. As we hear community concerns regarding equity, we will make it a point to hold the operators accountable.”

Rose also said dockless transportation options like e-scooters, which can be parked on any sidewalk, require “more intensive labor and resources ” to redistribute to less dense areas since often people simply ride them to the downtown urban core.

Barbara Gratta, of the Bayview’s Gratta Wines, said merchants are often left out of the planning process. Scoot, in particular, notified the community they’d launch in the Bayview in an announcement, not as a question or conversation, she said.

“From a merchant perspective, we’d like to be included in the conversation in the get-go,” she said. “We know the neighborhood, and where best they know these things.”Transit

 

A man rides a new Skip e-scooter along Market Street on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

A man rides a new Skip e-scooter along Market Street on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Just Posted

A felled tree in Sydney G. Walton Square blocks part of a lane on Front Street following Sunday’s storm on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
After the rain: What San Francisco learned from a monster storm

Widespread damage underscored The City’s susceptibility to heavy wind and rain

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Rainiest October day in San Francisco history

Rainfall exceeded 10 inches in parts of the Bay Area

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
Whistleblowing hasn’t worked at the SF Dept. of Building Inspection

DBI inspectors say their boss kept them off connected builders’ projects

Most Read