Two women ride Lime dockless electric scooters along the sidewalk on Market Street in April 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Court shoots down Lime’s effort to delay SF scooter pilot program

A San Francisco Superior Court judge has shot down mobility tech company Lime’s efforts to stall the Powered Scooter Pilot Program, which is set to launch Monday.

Lime announced Thursday that it would seek a restraining order to the e-scooter program, which was awarded to its competitors Scoot and Skip.

The tech mobility company, Lime, alleged the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency showed bias and favoritism in its application process towards the winning companies, and didn’t give a fair shake to the ten other companies — including Lyft, Razor, and others — who applied.

The courts didn’t find that allegation motivating enough to stall the program, said City Attorney’s Office spokesperson John Cote.

“We’re pleased the court denied Lime’s request for a temporary restraining order,” Cote said, in a statement. “The bottom line is the judge said he would not stop the permits from being issued on Monday.”

SEE RELATED: E-scooters to return to SF streets on Oct. 15, but only in a handful of neighborhoods

SFMTA is scheduled to award e-scooter pilot program permits to Scoot and Skip on Monday, at which point about 1,200 rentable scooters are set to roll through San Francisco streets, though they’ll only be available in eastern neighborhoods, including downtown, South of Market, the Castro, the northern tip of the Mission and a few blocks of the Bayview. Agency officials cited the company’s poor application and record of not cooperating with San Francisco in denying approval to operate in The City.

Yet the court proceedings will still continue, which Lime said gives them hope to “explain exactly what happened” in SFMTA’s “biased” application process.

Lime said, in a statement, “Our decision to file this lawsuit was not about preventing other operators from going forward; it was about exposing the biased and flawed process of the SFMTA, standing up for the rule of law, and serving Lime’s hometown.”

The company celebrated Judge Harold Kahn’s decision to order five key SFMTA officials, including Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin, to testify next week.

Lime was one of the three e-scooter companies that rolled out its two-wheeled vehicles in a “disruptive” fashion in March before a permit process was created by The City, the Examiner previously reported, causing more than 1,800 complaints about scooters parked on sidewalks or zooming past pedestrians to be filed with The City’s 311 system.

Despite Lime’s protests, Cote said SFMTA’s permit program has been both “fair and transparent.”

“Lime just didn’t like the outcome,” he said.

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