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

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

SF e-scooter fleets allowed to expand

The City is allowing e-scooter companies to release more vehicles on to the street.

On Sunday, e-scooter companies Spin, Scoot, Lime and Jump were allowed to roll out a combined 3,250 e-scooters.

That’s 750 for three of the companies and 1,000 e-scooters for Scoot, which has maintained a close working relationship with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for years.

Initially, each company except Scoot rolled out 500 e-scooters, so the increase in total fleet size citywide is about 750 e-scooters.

While still an increase, it’s a far cry from the 10,000 e-scooters SFMTA initially said would be allowed on city streets, an idea that got pushback from the Board of Supervisors.

Some, like Supervisor Aaron Peskin, called for a more cautious, slowed-down roll-out.

The SFMTA said all of the e-scooter companies have so far complied with a checklist of requirements that are meant to guarantee the e-scooters are available to the public and do not block the right-of-way for walkers.

All the companies have employed lock-to technology, essentially built-in scooter locks, according to SFMTA. All companies have been “compliant” with adequate-enough e-scooter deployment to serve San Francisco, according to SFMTA, with Lime, Scoot and Jump providing between 440-490 e-scooters on average. Scoot has provided roughly 767 e-scooters daily on average.

All the companies have submitted monthly data reports, although “the SFMTA has put several permittees on notice,” the agency said, when companies complained about releasing records to the public through the Sunshine Ordinance.

All the companies are tracking complaints through a database shared with the SFMTA, and all companies have paid into a $300,000 fund to purchase and install new bike racks across San Francisco that the e-scooters can use.

And, lastly, all the companies have low-income payment plans in place, and accept cash payment for those low-income plans, SFMTA noted. That is particularly key as Lyft has come under fire from local officials and community groups for ending cash-payment options for its Bay Wheels bikeshare rentals.

Just five days ago, e-scooter company Spin’s workers saw their unionization vote ratified, meaning the e-scooter company’s repair, redistribution and vehicle-charging workers joined the Teamsters Local 665. At the time, Nima Rahimi, senior policy counsel at Spin, said the company’s hiring of new workers would be dependent on the company’s fleet size.

Spin is the only e-scooter company to hire its workers through the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, which gives local workers in hardship a leg-up in training and hiring.

The next scheduled fleet size increase, as long as the companies comply with SFMTA’s various requirements, is scheduled for February 15 and would expand company fleets to 1,000 e-scooters each.

joe@sfexaminer.com

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