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Electric rental scooters return to SF streets after judge denies challenge

Oct. 15 (UPI) — Electric rental scooters returned to the streets of San Francisco Monday as part of a 12-month pilot program, just months after city officials outlawed them due to complaints from pedestrians.

Scooter startups Skip and Scoot said they would deliver 625 scooters Monday, for which customers can pay $1 to unlock the vehicles and ride them for 15 cents per minute.

While some investors spent millions betting on the popularity of the rental scooters, some pedestrians complained earlier this year about sharing the sidewalks with the buzzing scooters with few protocols in place.

That led the city to ban the scooters until a pilot program and application process was developed. A legal request by competitor Lime for an injunction to keep the scooters off the streets was rejected by a judge San Francisco Friday.

Lime and other transportation startups rejected by the city — including scooter company Spin and ride-share giants Uber and Lyft — are not happy with being left out of the scooter mix in San Francisco.

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

Scoot and Skip won approval to ship its scooters by promising the SFMTA to share riding data with the city, to safeguard user privacy, ensure access for disadvantaged communities and make sure its riders comply with rules to make sure they are good neighbors to pedestrians.

“We will watch closely for the next 12 months how people use scooters and how well the companies can be held accountable for the promises they made,” Tom Maguire, the director of sustainable streets for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, told The San Francisco Chronicle.

“We certainly hope scooters will be a great option to help people get safely around San Francisco, but we need to prove that with data.”

“We are ready to extend our offering in San Francisco to provide another fun, fast, affordable way for citizens to get around,” Scoot CEO Michael Keating told CNET.com. “We look forward to continuing to partner with the City to responsibly manage this new mode of transportation.”




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