Uber, Lyft Want in on San Francisco's Electric Scooter Craze


Ofo's protracted application for a permit to run the city's first bike share scheme was rejected by authorities, meaning the United States scooter craze could be the bike company's chance to have a visible (bright yellow?) presence in the tech center.

Under the city's guidelines, only five companies will be given permits to operate 500 scooters each within San Francisco. In that sense, this move makes sense for Uber as it works to become a transportation platform - and will put it right up against its archrival Lyft in a burgeoning new market.

Jump already operates a dockless electric bike share in San Francisco after winning the city's only permit to operate a pilot in January 2018.

On June 1 it was reported that rival ride-hailing company Lyft was close to a deal to buy the Citi Bike operator - which also runs the Ford GoBike program in Detroit.

The city wants to control the scooter sharing via a permitting process during a program of one year.

Some locals rejoiced at being able to easily scoot block to block in the congested city.

Electric scooters can certainly be an eco-friendly way to get around town, with the cost to ride them as cheap as $0.15 per minute.

Sequel to SFMTA's plan to limit the number of permits to five, the only way more than five companies would participate in the service is through partnerships.

To get the permits, each company has to demonstrate that it will provide user education on safe sidewalk riding and parking, be insured and have a privacy policy to safeguard users' information.

In San Francisco, both Uber as well as Lyft will compete for permits against other providers of electric scooter Lime, Bird and Spin. The other six companies- Razor, CycleHop, Uscooter, Ridecell, Ofo, Skip - didn't immediately return requests for comment.

Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said the Jump acquisition will help Uber go beyond "just being about auto sharing and vehicle hailing to really helping the consumer get from A to B in the most affordable, most dependable, most convenient way".