This year, startups like Bird and Lime inundated streets with electric scooters. It was a predictable Silicon Valley move—ask for forgiveness, not permission—but one that ired residents, cyclists, and people sick of the tech industry’s lawless recklessness. Scooters were graffitied, disemboweled, and even pooped on to make a point. In May, piles of scooters were used to blockade Google and Apple commuter buses during a protest against “techsploitation” in the Bay Area.
As Bird nears its goal of providing transportation to riders in 50 cities globally before the end of 2018, we will continue to work with San Francisco officials, partners, community organizations, and advocates in hopes of bringing Bird back to the City by the Bay. Over the past several weeks, SF residents have sent nearly 30,000 emails to city officials expressing their desire to have access to Bird. While we are disappointed with today’s decision, we hope to have the opportunity to meet the needs of SF residents and to help the city achieve it’s transportation goals following this initial test period.
San Francisco Denies Scooter Permits to Uber, Lyft, Bird, and Others
Image: Sarah Emerson
San Francisco just slammed the door on scooter companies hoping to do business in the city.Today, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced which scooter startups will receive special operating permits, after citizens opposed their tactics, likening them to a sidewalk plague, and claiming they posed a threat to pedestrian safety.Of at least twelve companies that applied to the 12-month pilot program, only Scoot and Skip were granted permission by the city. Skip claimed to be “the first permitted system operating anywhere,” co-founder and CEO Sanjay Dastoor told Techcrunch in May, having partnered with Washington, DC at the time.
Today’s ruling is a giant middle-finger to Uber, Lyft, Bird, and others who did not receive permits. A spokesperson for SFMTA told the San Francisco Examiner that its decision marks “the next chapter in the shared mobility story,” and that it expects “private operators will act in the public interest, that’s what the permit process is all about.”Bird told Motherboard in a statement: