San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority Opens Applications for 12-Month Dockless Scooter Pilot

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has opened up applications for a 12-month dockless scooter pilot, called the “Powered Scooter Share Permit Program,” that will give five companies permits for up to 500 scooters each.

As part of the application, companies must demonstrate how they will minimize their impact on San Francisco’s sidewalks, while maximizing their transparency to the public. Specifically, operators would need to provide user education, be insured, share trip data with the city, have a privacy policy that safeguards user information, offer a low-income plan, and submit a proposed service area plan for city approval. Operators will also need to have a plan in place to address sidewalk riding and sidewalk parking, which may include measures like locking scooters to bike racks.

SFMTA states that new permit and pilot was built to :

  • prioritize public safety – the city has been faced with illegal sidewalk riding, lack of helmet use, improper parking, and scooter proliferation. It is hoped that user education and limiting the amount of licensed scooters would improve the situation;
  • promote equity – providing a low-income membership option would offset scooter costs, the deployment of scooters in low-income areas would increase availability, and multi-lingual information could be posted; and,
  • increase accountability – by anonymously sharing trip and demographic data.

During the pilot project, the SFMTA will evaluate how a shared scooter system works in San Francisco and will be assessing the pilot’s effectiveness and company compliance through field observation, counts, citations issued, data received, complaints received, and other measures. SFMTA plans to recover program costs through a $5,000 application fee and $25,000 annual permit fee, and by creating a $10,000 endowment per company to cover city costs associated with property repair and maintenance.