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)

Skip pulls fleet off San Francisco streets after e-scooter catches fire in D.C.

Company decides to suspend service out of ‘abundance of caution’

One of only two e-scooter companies operating in San Francisco is temporarily taking its vehicles off city streets after the battery on a scooter caught fire last week in Washington, D.C.

A spokesperson for Skip confirmed Sunday that the vehicles were being removed out of an “abundance of caution” until the company can share the results of an investigation into the incident with transit officials.

“There is still no reason to believe that this affects any other vehicles in our fleet after days investigating all potential causes of the incident, including foul play,” Skip spokesperson Martha Shaughnessy said.

No one was injured in the incident, but the flames caused minor damage to a nearby wall, according to Shaughnessy.

Shaughnessy said Skip also decided to suspend service in Washington, D.C.

The scooters are expected to be back in service either Monday or Tuesday.

The company is permitted to operate 800 e-scooters in San Francisco that are available to rent through a smartphone app.

Skip and its competitor Scoot were allowed to roll out their vehicles in The City last year under a pilot program from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Safety was among the criteria the companies had to demonstrate to be chosen for the highly-competitive program.

“While this is an inconvenience to customers, we appreciate that Skip is putting safety first,” SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said Sunday. “We are going to closely monitor their investigation as they determine whether or not this was an isolated incident, before we comment on any possible next steps.”

The multi-billion dollar industry has grown in cities across the country as companies vie for operating permits.

In October, the SFMTA Board of Directors is expected to consider approving and expanding its permits.

S.F. Examiner Staff Writer Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez contributed to this report.

This report has been updated to reflect that Skip was permitted to operate 800 e-scooters as of Friday by the SFMTA, information Skip provided in a Monday update. Previously they were allowed to operate 625 e-scooters in San Francisco.

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