Ofo's protracted application for a permit to run the city's first bike share scheme was rejected by authorities, meaning the U.S. scooter craze could be the bike company's chance to have a visible (bright yellow?) presence in the tech center. The hoopla began after three companies, Bird, Lime and Spin unloaded their e-scooters in San Francisco in late March without any forewarning to lawmakers or residents.
Ride hailing rivals Uber and Lyft are both reportedly eyeing the idea of potentially adding electric scooters to services - after both applying for permits to operate the vehicles in San Francisco - according to The Verge. In the first six months there will 1,250 scooters on the streets and, if deemed successful, the number could be doubled for the rest of the year.
Lyft has been in talks with officials of San Francisco city to discuss possible permit through applications and has proposed some prototypes as at last month according to TechCrunch.
Some locals rejoiced at being able to easily scoot block to block in the congested city. Aside from Uber and Lyft, scooter startups Bird, Lime, and Spin are also looking to get a piece of the action. If the companies don't follow that rule, they could forfeit their chance for a permit.
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The SFMTA has reacted to numerous complaints about scooters. Both companies have applied for permits to rent electric scooters to customers so they can zip around town. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which is issuing the permits, said it will likely take until the end of June to finalize the permits.
Operators that are given new scooter permits must provide user education in order to be insured, share trip information with the city, as well as have a private policy that offers plans for uses that are low-income. The other six companies- Razor, CycleHop, Uscooter, Ridecell, Ofo, Skip - didn't immediately return requests for comment.
Electric scooters, gradually making its way into the U.S. transportation system looks like the next area Uber would be battling with Lyft.