San Francisco recently announced that it expanded its permit program to include Uber's Jump, Ford Spin and Lime companies that were previously barred from operating scooters in the city. But the expansion of the city's scooter operators isn't all good news: Skip, one of the companies that was part of San Francisco's original pilot program, didn't get permission and just sent a message to customers saying it would stop the service.
"As of October 15, Skip Scooters will no longer be available for hire as part of SFMTA's Powered Scooter Share Program for 201
Skip was one of two companies licensed under San Francisco's original pilot program in August 2018. (The other was Scoot.) But with the appearance of 2,500 additional scooters in the city streets this past week, Skip is calling it quits, the company still operates scooters in Washington, DC, San Diego and Austin.
In a statement to The Verge Skip CEO Sanjay Dastoor laid much of the blame on the feet of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. "Ship was one of two operators in the San Francisco pilot for scooter sharing last year," he said. however, was the only existing operator not selected for the coming year's expansion, and the past two weeks have been both humble and awful for our team. "
Dastoor said that Skip repeatedly sought guidance on SFMTA's decision to renew the permit, to no avail. "Unlike permit scholars, we didn't get news that we weren't included in the program until we read it in the press," he said. "This show of thoughtlessness and disrespect prompted us to respond to our panicked employees."
SFMTA "overestimated and rejected" the company's request for meetings, Dastoor argued. And now as a result of the permit decision, Skip will have to lay off dozens of employees, he said.
"We respect the SFMTA's authority to administer a program as they see fit," he concluded. That said, we believe Skip is the best operator positioned to serve San Francisco, and over the last 12 months we have demonstrated this admirably. We also ask that SFMTA, pending our appeal, give the company our stay to allow us to continue to operate and hire our team in San Francisco. ”
An SFMTA spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.
Under the expanded program, Jump, Lime and Spin are allowed to operate 500 scooters each, while Bird's Scoot will have 1,000, down from 1250 scooters it was allowed to operate previously. (The company, which was acquired by Bird earlier this year, remains in "good standing" with the city despite the fleet reduction.) The limit for new operators will increase to 750 scooters on December 15 and to 1,000 on February 15, 2020, so as long as they comply with the terms of the program.
The city is also initiating a "stricter" process for tracking complaints and scooters. In a blog post, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said:
The new Powered Scooter Share Permit includes a more stringent complaint tracking process through a shared complaint database. Operators will be required to track all complaints (and the resolution of these complaints) and provide this information to SFMTA regularly. Operators will also be required to take proactive measures to ensure that their customers are aware that sidewalks are both unsafe and illegal and take deterrent measures, including gradual financial penalties and suspensions for those engaged in unsafe riding.